What would you do if faced with a kidnap rape?
December 14, 2003
In midwinter, a woman was found dead east of Colorado Springs. She had been raped, tortured and killed with a shotgun.For several months, local and state police had no leads. In early May, in a Denver parking lot, Susan found herself facing this killer. She had just opened her car door when he walked up, put a sawed-off shotgun in her face and said, “If you stay here I will kill you, but if you come with me I promise not to hurt you.”Susan screamed at the man and jumped in her car. The rapist broke out the side window and stuck the shot gun in her face again and told her to get out of the car. Susan, using a select choice of superlatives, said, “No” and jumped in the back seat. As the rapist climbed into the car she jumped out.This predator spent so much time trying to subdue Susan with the threat of deadly force, a witness was able call the police and the man was arrested. DNA matched the man to the previous killing, and he is now spending the rest of his life in prison.For over a decade I was the consultant to safety and training at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. During this time, I taught every women’s, teen women’s and children’s safety program offered by Colorado Springs Park and Rec and the Wagon Wheel Council of the Girl Scouts of America.I have had to address the subject of what a person should do if faced with a violent kidnapping to literally thousands of people in my self-protection workshops. This subject is the most graphic and needs to be handled in both a delicate and frank manner.What we have here is the women who went with the rapist and died, and the women who refused to go and lived. Statistics bear this out. If a person points a gun at you from two feet away and says “Do not move and do not make a sound,” and you scream as loud as you can and run away, there is a 2 percent chance you will be hit if he shoots at you, and a two-tenths of 1 percent chance you will be hit mortally.On the other hand, if you go with the kidnaper-rapist, there is a 98-plus percent chance you will be killed. When a rapist tells you what he will do to you if you do not go with him, he is really telling you what he plans to do to you when he gets you alone.Another sobering statistic: The average length of a kidnap rape is six hours. Think about it. If a person threatens you with a knife or gun and wants you to go with them, they are not there to kill you. They are there to take you away. If their intention was to try and kill you on the spot, they would try what is called a “drive-by shooting.”I am a self-protection instructor and have been for over 25 years. At the beginning of every seminar I quote these statistics:1. 90 percent of attacks come from the front.2. 84 percdent of the time, the attack is premeditated.3. 80 percent of the time, you know or have seen the attacker before.4. 75 percednt of the time, the attack is preceded by normal conversation.5. When a woman fights the attacker (and this is before she ever takes a self-protection course) the woman wins 84 percent of the time.6. When a woman uses a weapon to defend herself – knife, gun, stick, mace, the woman wins 97 percent of the time.7. If you are not overcome in 15 seconds there is a 95 percent chance you will not be kidnapped or raped.Based on these statistics, the benefit to protecting oneself is self evident.At this point, I need to make clear that I am not saying a person should fight or that they made the wrong decision if they chose not to fight. What I am saying is decide to fight or not based on the facts, not on an antiquated belief system that says, “criminals always win” or “you’re just a girl, and you cannot defend yourself.”What it comes down to is a soul-searching decision, where each person decides for themselves what they will do if faced with this worst of all situations. If you decide you will never go with a rapist, then you fight, you fight hard, you fight loud, you fight dirty, you fight smart.Remember, you only have to fight for 15 seconds to have a 95 percent chance of winning.A postscript: As a rule I write my columns at least week before they are published. By coincidence after I finished my current column, an article was published in the Denver Post Dec. 10 concerning a 5’2” 112 pound, 64-year-old women who defended herself against a knife-weilding kidnaper and won. To read about it visit http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1413,36~53~1820548,00.htmlMatt Bayley, who writes about safety issues, operates Vail Academy of Martial Arts, celebrating the grand opening of its second school at the Vail Gymnastics Center in Avon and its 10 year anniversary serving the Vail Valley. Children and adult classes are offered at Aria Spa & Club and Vail Gymnastics Center in Avon starting at 3:30 p.m. six days a week. Call 949-8121 or visit vailacademyofmartialarts.com