I have had other posts in mind to be written, but well, this one is pretty fresh in my mind. There is no eloquent way to get into this topic, so I will just go straight to the story.
Earlier this week, someone attempted to mug me on the way home to my Philly apartment. I went to go take care of Aniket who was sick and practically bed-ridden with a fever. After dropping off some medicine and giving him food, I started down the ever so familiar main street to my new apartment (yea, did I forget to mention we moved last weekend to a new apartment closer to campus?).
Right by a well-lit area, right next to the hospital, and merely a few blocks from my apartment, I heard quick shuffling. Before I could turn around, I was suspended in air a bit, then choked in a headlock position for almost a whole minute. At first, I thought the person was trying to make me pass out from air loss or drag me into a van or corner. Lucky for me, they underestimated my strength for my height and stature.
I was able to lock my chin down and pull the guy on the ground with me. I lost my glasses. Then, a second guy tried to grab my purse and run, to which I denied him and pulled right back. The two muggers decided to split because it was too much of a hassle to mess with me. I screamed like a siren for what felt like an eternity until (lucky for me) a student I met a few years ago at orientation pulled over in a car and helped me find my glasses and dial 911.
(Image from Hostel 5, the movie)
I was really lucky that I got a way with a few scrapes, a sore, neck, and some bruises. I have all my items still, and I wasn’t inappropriately touched or held at gun/knife point. But in all honesty, if they had asked for my purse to begin with, I would literally thrown it at them. I can always get new things (even if I worked hard for that money), but my life is way more important. I instinctively put up a fight, and I suppose those couple terms of kickboxing and muscle building (while they didn’t help me lose weight) at least strengthened me up.
The point of my story is to bring things that may seem common sense. I have been living in this area for almost 4 years now. I admit, I got a bit lax because I had become familiar with the area. I don’t consider anytime before 10pm to be particularly late. And I wasn’t even listening to music. So suffice to say, I was caught off guard, unprepared and very unlucky to get caught up in a string of recent student robberies.
Some advice on how to prevent a similar mishap?
- Try to avoid traveling alone at night. Bring friends with you or get an escort. In Philly we have University City escorts available, all you got to do is call!
- Always be on guard and prepare for the worse. I was looking around me as I walked, but I didn’t have a weapon on hand to defend myself quick enough. Carry pepper-spray in your pocket (not purse, like I did). Hold keys in your hands like metal knuckles just in case you have to engage in a tussle.
- It never hurts to be educated in basic self-defense techniques. I took a mini self-defense portion in high school (which proved to be very useful during my incident). Simple moves do lots of damage, even if you aren’t the strongest person.