University Chic’s Note: Erin Weed founded the Girls Fight Back program after her sorority sister was murdered in June 2001. Determined to prevent similar tragedies, Erin created Girls Fight Back to educate women about campus security, personal safety, violence protection and self-defense. She now travels the nation giving personal safety seminars and has spoken to over 100,000 women nationwide. The following column is excerpted from her book, Girls Fight Back!
The College Girl’s Guide to Protecting Herself.
Webster’s Dictionary defines intuition as, “the direct knowledge of awareness of something without conscious attention or reasoning.” I like to think of our intuition as our inner grandmother. She is soft-spoken, wise and always has our best interests at heart. Have you ever met a new guy and the instant you shook his hand you immediately knew he was a creep? On the surface he seemed very nice and polite as he said, “Nice to meet you.” But your inner voice kept saying, “This guy is shady.” Your intuition may be picking up on signals of his character and sending you warning signs. One of the most dangerous things women do is force themselves to trust someone their intuition warns them about within the first seconds of meeting them.
Sometimes the messengers of intuition are subtle and other times they are insistent, depending on the situation’s urgency. However it communicates, it is important to validate intuition for what it is—a survival signal sent to protect you from harm. Furthermore, intuition is always in response to something, whether or not you recognize it at the time. Intuition may come across in the following ways:
*A whisper in your head
*Humor (sometimes dark humor)
*Wonder or Curiosity
*Hesitation or Suspicion
If we listen to intuition, it will help us predict bad situations. If we can predict them, it gives us the recourse to try and prevent bad scenarios from materializing. Some women don’t believe they have the ability to predict violence. But in actuality, violence is just another form of human behavior, an area in which we are all experts.
NOTE: An instance when your intuition will not be working at 100% is after you have been drinking alcohol or doing drugs. These substances dampen the signals your intuition sends and your own ability to sense these warnings. Practice personal responsibility when partying.
Here are three common situations you might have faced in your life at some point. Read the scenario, and choose which option you would select.
Situation #1: A man approaches you in a parking lot and offers to help you load your groceries into your car. Your intuition picks up a strange and uneasy vibe about this guy and your initial reaction is to say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” But then you think to yourself, “He seems so nice, he must be harmless.” What should you do?
A) Accept his help
B) Firmly say, “No, thank you.”
The correct answer is “B.” Just because someone’s actions are nice doesn’t mean they have good intent. In actuality, niceness is a choice of behavior and is often used to manipulate others.
Situation #2: You’re waiting for an elevator and after a long time, the doors finally open. A man is on the elevator alone and you immediately have a bad feeling about him. You hesitate and consider taking the stairs for a moment, but then you think, “I don’t want him to think I’m a bitch.” What should you do?
A) Wait for the next elevator or take the stairs
B) Get on the elevator anyway
The correct answer is “A.” Getting into a solid, steel, confined space with someone you instantly distrust is never a good idea. While being thought of as a bitch for whatever reason isn’t necessarily a fuzzy feeling, we really need to get a thicker skin.
Situation #3: You walk out the front door of the campus library one night and immediately get an uneasy feeling about the walk home. You have the option of calling the escort service, but you silently think to yourself, “I don’t want to seem paranoid.” What should you do?
A) Call the escort service
B) Walk home by yourself
The correct answer is “A.” If you have an escort service available to you, please use it!
Did you know that humans are the only creatures in nature that override their intuition? Animals, on the other hand, do a great job of honoring their survival instincts. Here’s why: animals live in the moment. They face situations as they come, honor their danger signals and immediately act upon their instincts. Humans could learn a few things from animals in this regard.
· Read the book Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.
· Trust your intuition the moment it communicates with you.
· Party smart so intuition can work properly.