What NOT to do if You get Mugged

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"I had just finished a horrible first day at a new job and was waiting for my boyfriend to pick me up at our usual meeting spot in front of 54 Mint. As a rule, I try not to use my iPhone in public places, but the longer I sat there, the more comfortable I felt killing time on my phone and looking up less and less frequently."

This is the first paragraph from an article I read a few days ago. It was written by Wendy Steiner, a woman who had been mugged and had her cell phone taken away from her.

In her article, posted on a website called the Bold Italic, she described what she was doing before the mugging, how she handled the mugging, and what she did after the mugging.

I give her lots of credit! She fully admits what she did wrong. And she wrote the article in the hopes of helping others learn from her mistakes.

Mistake Number One

Wendy was on her cell phone in public. She got complacent and forgot to keep looking around her for signs of danger (threat awareness).

This gave a "guy in a Giants hoodie" the advantage of approaching her from behind without her knowledge. Buy the time she looked up from her phone and saw him, she had no time to react to the threat.

"I suddenly felt anxious," she wrote. "I got a weird vibe from him, so I lowered my phone to my lap, but it was too late. The next thing I knew, the man was in my face... and grabbed my phone."

This is exactly why we here at Personal Defense Connection are constantly advising and reminding our students, and anyone else who will listen, about being aware when out in public. Threat awareness, situational awareness, defensive awareness... whatever you want to call it, it's the cornerstone of self defense.

In fact, I wrote another post about that specific subject. Actually, our blog is filled with lots of articles on awareness. But only one is called "Awareness: The Cornerstone of Self Defense."

In any event, because the thug was able to sneak up on her, she had no time to react. The mugging had already begun.

Mistake Number Two

Wendy wrote that she had always thought she would be a "flyer" in a fight or flight situation. But, because of several reasons, she decided to plant her feet, grab the thug by his sweatshirt and yell, "No, that's my phone!"

What happened then?

The mugger punched her in her face. "Four or five times."

As difficult as it must be to do (thankfully, I've never been mugged, but I can imagine it would be difficult), if you are mugged, don't fight over your possessions. Phones and purses/wallets can be replaced. But people can rarely be brought back from the dead. 

Wendy continued on, "I was so surprised to get punched that I actually didn’t even think to put my arms up around my face. Pro tip: if you’re ever getting attacked, you should act like one of those flailing inflatable tube men. Unfortunately, I acted like Kristen Stewart."

(Wendy has a good sense of humor.)

After hitting her, he took off with her phone. For some reason, though, he ran about 15 feet then threw the phone at her feet, smashing the screen. He yelled, "Here, [expletive], you can have it!"

"I had a bloody nose, two shoulder bruises, a bump on my right temple, and a neck scratch that was bleeding. It took me a minute or two to realize I was crying. I was shocked at how intensely the tears were gushing from my face. A fancy lady with a giant Louis Vuitton bag helped me collect my scattered and slightly bloody new-hire papers. I cried on her leather jacket, and she got me some napkins. I don’t know if those two things are related." (Did I mention that she has a great sense of humor?)

Taking on a mugger is usually a bad idea. Especially when the thug is running away from you. The threat is over. Count your blessings.

Also, take a self defense class or two. Learn how to defend yourself and how to fight back. Do it now. Just in case. No one expects to be attacked. Wendy certainly didn't. 

So be prepared, just in case.

Mistake Number Three

What did she do after being attacked?

She went home. She called her mom.

Her mom "said all the things a mother should say, including that I should call the police, which I hadn’t done, because technically, the guy didn’t steal my phone, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to identify him. But I ended up calling the police just because my mom wanted me to."

She should have dialed 911 immediately after the threat was over. Or she could have asked someone else call for her since her phone probably didn't work. Frankly, I'm pretty surprised that no one else called the police!

What She Learned

     "Looking back, there were a lot of things I should have done differently, " she wrote.

  • "Aside from the fact that I finally had the opportunity to punch someone in the face without any moral dilemma but totally choked, I realized that I should’ve given up my [expletive] phone without a fight."
  • "... identifying people is hard, and not everything is videotaped. CSI lied to us. I also found out that just because it’s daytime in a familiar place doesn’t mean you can completely let your guard down."
  • “Use all your senses to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Pay close attention to suspicious activities and persons. Carry yourself with confidence and alertness.”
  • " ... put your [expletive] phone away. What are you — stupid?"

Well said, Wendy. Well said.

If you want to read the original article click here. FYI: the article contains expletives.

Related Article: "6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Predator's Target"