This weekend I got an e-mail alert, for Oprah’s show this Monday, April 12. Lisa Ling travels to an isolated island. Not for scenery, or a restaurant, or a spiritual retreat. This trip is to a place where hundreds of sex predators live. Oprah Show – Most Dangerous Offenders in America
My heart dropped. I’m a single mother to a teenage girl. Over this past summer of 2009, we attended a birthday party. A man came up to my daughter, while she was sitting next to me, and offered her a beer. He didn’t speak to me, except to mumble an apology as he quickly backed away when I screamed “SHE’S ONLY THIRTEEN!”
Every mother, of course, thinks her child is beautiful. Well, call me immodest because I believe my daughter is an exotic beauty. Her caramel skin, hazel eyes and kinky brown hair make her easy to spot in a crowd, as if being taller than most kids in her grade weren’t enough. This is only a slight step down from when she was the tallest kid in school – the school went to fifth grade and in third grade she was the tallest of all students.
What to do? Tell my daughter don’t talk to strangers, program her cellphone with every nearby relative on speed dial, sign her up for self-defense classes? I’m not athletically inclined, so the thought of flying kicks makes me nervous. Practicing at home would be difficult at the least.
I had my daughter read Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker. This book goes beyond avoiding strangers, to help parents teach their children how to stay safe in different situations. It happens way too often – police officers are accused of crimes, caregivers are negligent or abusive, classmates pressure each other to do things. In Protecting the Gift, anecdotes are shared by survivors who would have otherwise been victims. The mother who fought off an intruder while holding an infant on her hip, is only one example.
Years ago I read The Gift of Fear, also by Gavin DeBecker. That book reinforced something I had suspected for a long time but had never been able to voice correctly. Gut reactions are perfectly valid reasons to avoid a certain location or person. The nice guy who won’t take no for an answer could be a potential stalker. He could also be a nice guy – so where is the line? When my daughter got to middle school and had to travel further each day, I had her read The Gift of Fear.
In both books Mr. DeBecker discusses strategies used by offenders, such as forced teaming – we gotta go feed that hungry cat and ignoring NO – very simply, insisting until you give in. He offers counter-attacks to avoid becoming a statistic. These books have been invaluable to me and to my daughter. If I hadn’t been at her side when that man – a stranger no less – offered her a beer, she would have refused it. Any further offers would have prompted her to get up and find our hostess, embarrassing him and further exposing him to angry relatives or the police. My daughter has her checklist every day before leaving for school. Bookbag, keys, phone, lunch, lip gloss. I feel better knowing she has learned some tough lessons from Gavin DeBecker’s books, instead of first-hand experience.
I wrote to Mr. DeBecker, thanking him for putting his skills within reach of civilians. He has, after all, consulted with government agencies to implement security protocols, responded to celebrity concerns about overzealous fans, and created eight different versions of the Mosaic Threat Assessment System. Add to this, the books, articles and personal appearances on shows such as Oprah and try to imagine my reaction when Mr. DeBecker sent me two autographed books. One each, The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift. These books are consistent best-sellers, because they deal with situations and issues every adult or parent has to handle every day. You can win the book of your choice.
Methods of Entry
Method of Entry #1 – Share a personal safety tip in a comment.
Method of Entry #2 – Share a story of a dangerous situation you handled.
Method of Entry #3 – Follow me on twitter, leave a comment so it counts as an entry.
Terms and Conditions
Two winner will be selected on or about May 7, 2010.
One winner selected will receive an autographed copy of The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker.
One winner selected will receive an autographed copy of Protecting the Gift by Gavin DeBecker.
Book will be shipped (with tracking fees paid) via United States Postal Service, after winner is confirmed via e-mail.
Please see Giveaway and Contest Rules for other rules which apply to this drawing.
DISCLOSURE: This book was provided by the author, Gavin DeBecker, for this giveaway at no cost to me.