“It’s not just self-defense, it’s preventative as well,”
said Sherri Hinkel, a Realtor® who was recently assaulted on the job. She learned, from a self-defense instructor, to recognize and avoid dangerous situations, and to act quickly and rationally under stress.
This is what happened:
Real estate agent Sherri Hinkel got a call to show one of her listings, which was an empty house. The man who called answered questions in a manner typical of a typical buyer. Hinkel checked his background on google; he was college educated and employed. He came to the showing with proof of funds to purchase the house.
“We both know why we are here,” said Michael Beat [the man arrested for this assault] according to a police report. “Don’t you find this a turn-on?”
Hinkel was prepared. This is what saved her from sexual assault:
Beat [the man arrested for this assault] asked Hinkel to enter the master bedroom in front of him. To someone trained in self-defense, this is a red flag. Sherri Hinkel entered behind him. Never enter a room ahead of someone you don’t trust. If you are behind them, you can get out.
Hinkle immediately texted a coworker for help. 911 was called. Have a plan in place to get help.
- The old-fashioned way to do it is to set up a check-in with someone reliable. That person knows where you are and who you are with. If that person doesn’t hear from you, they call you. That person is also set up as a quick-call on your phone.
- Now, there are apps for this. I’ve been using Companion, which seems to do the job.
Sherri Hinkle explained it this way:
Hinkel says all agents need to take a safety course and have an app or tool where they can call for help immediately.
You have to be able to push a button or make a phone call immediately…Sometimes you don’t have time to pull out [a weapon or a tool]. You need something that’s automatic. Source
The takeaways for self defense:
Have a plan for quick contact to a friend whenever you are meeting a stranger. This includes the first few dates with someone new. This includes interviews that are being held in isolated locations.
Practice emergency phone dialing or emergency app activation.
Do not assume that affluence and employment are fool-proof indications that a person is trustworthy.
Never enter a room ahead of a person you don’t trust 100%, if you are in an isolated location. You can get trapped more easily that way.
Report all sexual assaults, even when no rape occurred. This situation could have been written off as “nothing happened” by a callous police person. If that happened, this assailant probably would have tried to rape another woman.
Always know where the exits are in any room you enter, whether it is an isolated or crowded place. Although not relevant to this situation, it is a good habit to develop.