1. Stay off the internet. I know that’s, like, impossible, but seriously, the internet is just a giant bog of murdering child-molesting masturbaters. One in five kids who use the internet have experienced an unwanted sexual solicitation, and only 25% of them told a parent about it. Seventy seven percent of the targets of interline predators are 14 and older. The first sign that you are vulnerable to internet predators is thinking you are not vulnerable to internet predators.
2. If a stranger approaches you and tells you he’s a famous photographer and you’d make a wonderful cover model, kick him in the nuts.
3. Don’t get married. Sorry. When they say 55% of marriages end in divorce, they are not even counting the several thousand marriages that end in murder each year. Roughly a quarter of all female homicide victims got that way at the hands of a husband, boyfriend or ex. Bad news, I know, but just bear that in mind.
4. Lock the door. Lord Christ. That serial killer in Baton Rouge picked his victims just by jiggling door knobs. Don’t be an idiot.
5. Don’t go jogging down wooded paths all alone. And if you do, don’t make it worse by wearing earphones so you can’t hear the killer coming up from behind. I swear, it’s like the landscapers consulted rapists when they designed those paths.
6. Learn how to escape from zip-tie handcuffs. It’s easier than you think. Rapists and killers like to use zip ties to subdue their victims. (It doesn’t hurt to learn how to escape from regular handcuffs, too. John Wayne Gacy tricked his victims into putting the handcuffs on themselves. Oh yeah — don’t put the handcuffs on yourself!)
7. Don’t leave the door propped open. For Christ’s sake that’s how Ted Bundy killed two of his last three victims. Some bovine at a college sorority left the door propped open and all Bundy had to do was step inside. And if you yourself are about to step into a secure building, for God’s sake don’t hold the door open for the stranger behind you. Let them enter their passcode their own ass self.
8. Get a dog. Preferably one with a big bark. Rapists really don’t like dogs.
9. Learn how to escape a choke hold.
10. If a stranger asks to use your phone, say no. If a stranger is holding an unfolded map and asks you for directions, ignore him or keep your distance and call out the information. If they ask you to get in the car and show them the way, don’t you goddam dare.
11. If someone knocks on the door, don’t open it. Look through the window, if you don’t recognize him, keep the door closed. If you do recognize him, like if he’s a, acquaintance or a neighbor, talk to him through the door. Twenty seven percent of kids abducted are kidnapped by acquaintances. Pretend someone else is home. Call out something like, “Hey, Sluggo, someone’s at the door!” And your dog should be barking, too.
12. Never go near a man in a van. Seriously. Don’t even park next to a van. All they have to do is open the sliding side door and drag your ass inside.
13. If a plain-clothed stranger approaches you anywhere in any situation (department store, gas station, side of the road, your own front door, etc.), shows you a badge and/or tells you they are law enforcement, then says you have to leave with him, start screaming. Dial 911. Kick them. If it’s a real police detective he should have known better. Tell him your Mom said he deserved it.
14. If you ever get lost in a crowded place, pick another mother to ask for help. Less than 10% of predators are female, so go with the odds.
15. Never get in the car! If someone pulls up beside you and points a gun at you and demands you get in the car — don’t! They probably won’t call attention to themselves by shooting at you. And if they do, they only have a 30% chance of hitting you, and of that even a lower percent chance of hitting anything vital. Whereas if you get in the car, your pretty young ass is almost certainly dead — unless you jump out. Oh yeah, if you find yourself in the car, jump out.
17. Learn how to escape a locked car trunk. Here are some tips: In recent-model cars, glow-in-the-dark escape handles have been installed for you to pull and free yourself. In all model cars, there should be a jack in there somewhere, find it and use it to jack the trunk open, or yank out the wires to the tail lights so the killer/rapist will get pulled over by the police.
18. If someone jumps in your car, pulls a weapon on you and demands you drive to a secluded area, jump out of the car and run. If you can’t do that then floor it and steer straight into the next streetlight. The airbag will deploy. You’ll be fine — maybe a little banged up, but that’s better than dead. If there is no streetlight nearby, rear-end a police car.
19. Don’t succumb to peer pressure! Your friends are idiots. Don’t listen to them when they say things like, “Drink this,” (said the date rapist with the roofie cocktail), or, “It’ll be fun,” (said the soon-to-be-dead friend who wants to hitchhike to Bisbee), or, “It’s not addictive if you only do it once,” (said the crack dealer/future pimp).
20. This bears repeating: Go for the nuts. Don’t be shy.