This caught-on-camera video clip of woman fleeing a knife-wielding robber/ street thug sparked huge outrage and dialogue. The reason? She instantly fled but left her four year old daughter behind with the criminal. Some seconds later she returns and we see her then fighting with her attacker at the door to the market where she seeks help and safety.
Most who commented are irate- nasty curses aside it boils down to this:
How could a mother abandon her own child in this way?
But here’s the other TABOO question: Could I / you have done that? Could one’s own self preservation and FLIGHT imperative override the maternal instinct? If you’re not prepared with self defense and survival options might YOU do this in spite of your thinking?
Short answer: YES.
I’m not saying I condone her actions – of course not. She left her young with a criminal who could just as easily have killed the girl out of rage or held the child hostage to get to the MOM. Plus that child now lives with the memory that her Mother abandoned her at a life-and-death moment. But what I’m saying is this:
Crazy, dissonant and unexpected shit happens when people are unprepared and the adrenaline and survival instincts, compounded by terror, kick in. And it’s not always the “warrior” response we’d like to think.
Certainly there are options she could have exercised (and women often do) including giving up the purse- “Here take my money!!” A technique I call “Throw The Dog A Bone” and run with daughter in hand. Or she might have used the handbag as a weapon to bash his face or bash his knife-hand to create a distraction while then running with daughter. (Note: the criminal does not actually attack at first but rather threatens from a distance which is not uncommon as a set-up to gain compliance and control.)
There is NO cookie cutter answer- nor substitute for good judgment in the moment.
So here’s what I say: The clip speaks – at the VERY LEAST — to the fact that without preparation and options, this could be many people. And that’s plenty good reasons to acquire and “cook in” skills and knowledge. Because in that blistering moment, thinking can be sketchy at best. Instinctive is the name of the game.
Women as a culture are also far more conditioned as prey- which is precisely how she appears as she runs away. In watching this clip I observe the common disconnect from “The Fierce Female” – the ability to TAKE control, renegotiate with fear, and to bring all our protective powers to bear. In other words to choose action and not default to a conditioned “prey” response.
I post lots of stories of women with NO PRIOR SELF DEFENSE TRAINING on my Dr Ruthless Face Book page. Women who save themselves and their kin. Women ARE generally fierce protectors of their young– which is why this appeared so shocking and repugnant to all who cursed this woman up and down.
But enough about my thoughts. I would love to hear your response–be they gut feelings or from your experience.