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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,041

    Bicycling in questionable neighborhood

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    My friend bikes or rides the bus a lot. She lives in a college town but in a decent neighborhood, one with grad student housing. Last evening there was a bizarre sexual assault on a woman in her neighborhood, possibly in her building. A man was knocking on doors and when the woman answered, he forced his way in.

    Now she's scared to ride her bike. She's scared even to take out her trash, or answer the door.

    She wants to know what she can do, to protect herself while biking, or just to feel safer?

    I told her to take a few days off, maybe even stay with a friend if possible. Give herself some time to be afraid. But beyond that I don't know what to tell her.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,231
    sorry to hear about anyone having to go through those feelings....you gave good advice

    Hopefully if there is an arrest or no more sexual assaults it will be a brief stress reaction that is resolved with a little more time. Is there any community/college support that she can use? My community has built support and therapy capacity for handling stress/trauma in cases like this. Those worked well when a rapist committed a series of rapes two years ago. We had a series of neighborhood meetings that were helpful for those needing a better understanding of what they were feeling and going through. I’m a believer in bringing together neighbors at times like this for a strong sense of mutual support.

    Perhaps taking a self defense class will help her not only now but more importantly, if continued, into the future too. I’ve used martial arts for both its psychological and physical benefits. The self-confidence my training has given me has taken away insecurities, perhaps like those your friend may be feeling. It has also given me a strong sense of self-control, self-knowledge and increased positivity.

    I also have pepper spray/gel in my handlebar bag that I know how to use and feel comfortable using if needed.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,984
    Does she know 1 neighbour near her to talk to / or ask for help in an emergency?

    Don't know her housing situation but being on the bike itself, I actually feel 10x safer on bike vs. walking in terms of my own personal security (not talking about the problem of distracted drivers that are texting, etc. That's a different problem.). I've cycled regularily on paved paths in park systems, on the street, etc. I've always lived in the city. .

    She never needs to feel obligated to stop her bike if she is yelled at /asked by a strange guy or crowd if she has the right of way as a cyclist / she is not at a traffic stop/intersection. Even then, if it means cycling away from a potentially dangerous crowd/people, I would tend to blow through an intersection if there weren't cars around.

    I should add that I've lived in "tougher" neighbourhoods...which really means lower income / there was some drug dealing activity /some homeless people (who usually are harmless) or there was a shooting.

    Hope she finds regular support or a friend to chat up once or more per wk. Sounds like she needs at least that level of communication for awhile.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 09-28-2014 at 01:18 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

 

 

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