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Negotiating with a punter

Beforehand

  • Try to arrange the price, service and location outside the car or before going up to the room
  • Take a good look at the punter — do they look OK? Do you recognise their description from an Ugly Mugs report?
  • Have a price list and stick to it
  • YOU choose where to take your punter
  • Have a limit on how much time you spend with a punter and make sure he knows this
  • Decide in advance what you are prepared and not prepared to do

If things go wrong

If you are followed

  • Cross the road, maybe twice to be sure that the person is following you
  • Head for the nearest pub, police station, garage or open shop as quickly as you can. Take the most public route to the most public place
  • Do not add to your fear by letting your imagination take over. Be positive and confident about your actions
  • If you think you need to, cause a commotion, make lots of noise and fuss to attract attention and deter the person following you

If someone becomes aggressive

If they want your money or bag you need to ask yourself, ‘Is this really worth the fight, or should I save myself?’

Try to calm the person and talk them out of it:

  • Use open handed gestures
  • Speak in a low, quiet tone Try not to shout
  • Use friendly, sensitive language and try to show understanding and sympathy
  • Keep thinking about how you will get out of the situation
  • Do not allow fear, panic or anger to take over
  • Tell them someone is meeting you, expecting you home soon or waiting for you
  • Cry hysterically — this may put him off and give you a vital couple of seconds
  • If you are attacked make as much noise as possible by shouting, screaming or yelling!
  • Use your mobile to phone for help
  • If you have an alarm use it. If you are in a car, hit the horn or flash the lights to attract attention

A difficult decision

Although this is a difficult one, you may have to submit in order to preserve your life. Men are often physically stronger than women. Do not try to fight a man unless you are certain you can win or you are convinced he intends to kill you.

If you decide to submit, cut your thoughts to concentrate on the fact that the attack will end and you will hold on for that moment and then get help.

If you decide to fight back to escape, you must be confident that you are going to immobilise your attacker. If you don’t know proper self-defence aim for the eyes, throat, groin and chest.

Self defence

  • Walk away from danger — defend yourself only if necessary
  • Do not carry a weapon — it could be used against you
  • If someone attempts to attack you make a lot of noise, scream and shout
  • If you have to fight back to escape attack soft areas such as the throat, adam’s apple, eyes, testicles and kick shins
  • If they have their hands around your throat, smack both ears with the flat of both hands
  • Run against traffic direction and towards people and lights
  • If you need to yell for help shout ‘fire’ or ‘police’
  • If there are people around address a person directly i.e. ‘You in the red coat’
  • You can get a personal attack alarm from the MASH drop-in centre or the outreach van.

What to do after an attack

  • Remember that the attack is not your fault
  • Find a safe place away from the attacker. Ask a friend to stay with you
  • Seriously consider reporting the attack to the police, MASH can help you do this or report the incident for you anonymously if you prefer, and share the information with other women to help protect them too.
  • If you are considering reporting the attack to the police preserve the evidence. Do not bathe, shower, brush your teeth or change your clothes.
  • If you do change your clothes do not wash the ones you were wearing at the time of the attack. If the attack happened in your home, do not disturb the scene, as there might be vital evidence there
  • Give the police all the details about the attack, however intimate, including anything unusual you noted about  the attacker
  • Show the police any external bruises or injuries from the attack even small ones
  • Remember that the police may need to take your clothes as evidence
  • Get medical attention. Even if you have no physical injuries, it is important to get checked for sexually transmitted infections and to obtain any forensic evidence left by the attack
  • If you have been raped you may need to get emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. This is available from your GP, Family Planning Clinic or to buy from a pharmacy
  • Tell the police if you remember anything later on
  • Recognise that healing from this kind of attack takes time. Give yourself all the time you need

How to help a friend who has been attacked

  • Listen and be there
  • Encourage your friend to consider reporting the attack to the police. It might help your friend to contact MASH for further support when making a decision about this
  • Try to discourage your friend from taking a bath or shower if they are thinking about reporting the attack. She may be desperate to wash, so gently explain why it’s important that she doesn’t
  • Support your friend to get medical help
  • Encourage her to write down the details of the attack. If she is shaky you might be able to write things down for her
  • Be patient; remember it will take your friend some time to deal with the attack

To find out more how you can reduce risks and put safety first, please read our Safety First brochure.

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