Written by: Greg Ellifritz
Read this article:
“Bruce entered the store on Monday afternoon pretending to be a customer, left, and then re-entered with a gun, charges say. He ordered the three women in the store to the back of the store and made them take their clothes off at gunpoint. He forced two victims to perform sex acts at gunpoint, and tried to do the same with Jamie Schmidt, a customer from House Springs, killing her when she refused.
The charges say he then ordered the two other women, who were store employees, “to continue performing deviant sexual acts on him.”
Where are your personal boundaries? Ms. Schmidt complied until the man attempted to rape her. She reached her boundary and then refused to do anything more. She was killed when she didn’t allow the rapist to sexually assault her.
Did she make the right choice? Only she could tell us that. More importantly, will YOU make the right choice when a criminal crosses the line in your life?
You aren’t likely to make the best decision if you haven’t pondered the potential outcomes in advance.
What are you willing to give up? Deciding in advance where your personal boundaries lie will speed your reaction in the event that a robber asks for more than money. Decide what is too valuable to give up and have a plan to either fight or flee if the criminal asks for it.
Think about this particular attack. Besides the obvious intent to sexually assault the women, why would the killer order all three women to strip off their clothes?
The killer was probably trying to maximize his chance for escape by putting his victims in a position where they are too embarrassed to give chase or fight back. Besides those obvious advantages, think about the other issues involved.
Taking off your clothes involves being temporarily in a very vulnerable unbalanced position. It would be difficult to defend against a physical attack with your pants around your ankles.
If you carry a firearm, it is likely to be discovered when you take off your clothes, further limiting future options for resistance.
It’s for these reasons that I personally would not give up my clothes if a robber asks for them. That’s a hard boundary for me.
It’s not that I would be embarrassed to be seen in my birthday suit, it’s the simple fact that giving up my pants limits all other options from that point forward. It doesn’t matter if you agree with my assessment or not. What’s important is that you decide what solution is best for you if the criminal demands that you strip naked.
While you are thinking about this one, think about a few other “boundary” scenarios. What would you do if a criminal was holding you at gunpoint and demanding the following:
– to get in a car with him
– to get in the trunk of the car
– to restrain you
– to give him oral sex
– to give up your wallet. What amount of money is worth possibly dying for?
– to blindfold you
– to give up your car
– to give up your child
– to gag you
– to give up your cell phone
– to begin searching you for weapons
– to order hostages to split into two separate groups based on sex
These are just a few of the scenarios I’ve seen play out in my crime research and police experience over the past two decades. All of those scenarios have actually happened. All of them involve a criminal violating a potential boundary. Most of them limit the victim’s future response options.
With the exception of giving up my wallet, car, or phone, all of the remaining scenarios would trigger my plan to either escape or attack the criminal regardless of the odds.
Simply put, I won’t comply when compliance puts me in greater danger in the future.
Your plan might be different from mine. That’s OK. In any event, it would be a wise decision to think about your responses to each of the scenarios listed above so that you don’t end up like the victims in this story.
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