The Foundations of Safety

            We have worked through our personal definitions of Safety & Security; we looked at defining violent crimes & the types of abuse, we evaluated disturbing statistics, and we started developing our own perspectives on safety; now, it is time that we move into “watering of the SEED,” which we will do in this module. When it comes to safety and security, there are two things that are in our control. Those two things are our mindset and our perspective on the world. When it comes to both concepts, the one tool you can acquire is knowledge, or in the world of SEED, we refer to it as water. 

In this module we will explore the diverse types of interactions that you might find yourself in; we will start to discuss the important phases of safety as we start to establish foundational principles of staying safe, and we will begin to look at ways, interactions, and situations that can affect you physically and emotionally, ultimately affecting your mindset and perspective of your world!

Categories of Interactions

          As big as the world is that we all live, work, and play in, it should be of no surprise that our society is made up of all kinds of people with different personalities, communication skills, intentions, and life goals. All of these factors come together in the form of interactions. Oh boy; haven’t we all had some crazy and interesting interactions in our time! We have experienced anything from funny, disturbing, weird, to the downright scary and horrifying interactions. These interactions, with others, shape our mindset and our perception of the world.

            Our experienced Advanced Instructors here at SEED have identified three types, or Categories, of Interactions to help us lay the foundation of safety. Almost every interaction you will have with others, whether at home or elsewhere, will fall into one or more of these categories. They are:

  1. Consent- when someone does anything with your full permission.
  2. Incident- when someone has done something to you, and they do not know what they are doing is disobeying your consent or behaving in a way you do not feel comfortable with.
  3. Violation- when someone does anything to you knowing that you do not consent to, or that is knowingly unlawful, unethical, immoral, or unwarranted.

            A Consenting Interaction is self-explanatory. It is an interaction with someone where you are engaging willingly and with your permission. An example of this is when an individual asks to assist you, a person with a visual disability, offering you an elbow for sighted guide assistance and they wait for you to touch them. Or a person with balance issues being asked “can I assist you somehow?” and then you say yes. Ideally, these interactions begin by the person asking you or offering your assistance before entering your comfort or “safe” zone and touching you. Always remember, no one has the right to touch you without your consent. If they do this, it can be perceived as assault.

An incident, or incidental interaction, is when someone unknowingly or unconsciously is intruding on your safe zone or behaving in a way that you do not consent to, causing you to feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This usually is what we call a benign intrusion, meaning they mean no harm, and are simply physically grabbing you to “help” you. Unfortunately, 95% of the time, people with disabilities encounter this very type of interaction more times than not. A good example would be when an individual grabs you and they perceive that you need assistance, such as sighted guidance, and not waiting for you to give permission or to acknowledge consent by touching their elbow first. Those individuals with mobility canes, walkers, or wheelchairs might experience someone grabbing them or their device to help steer them or “support” them. In any case, this is unacceptable behavior. Remember though, unless you speak up and let them know you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe with this unwanted behavior, they do not know or understand that they are doing anything wrong. For some reason society, through negative stereotypes and their overwhelming desire to help, believes it is okay to walk up and grab someone rather than vocalizing their intent and gaining consent first. A huge thing to keep in mind, I know we keep reminding you of this, but it is extremely important for you to remember that you have the right to be independent and not be grabbed without being asked first! That is why strong self-advocacy skills and disability awareness programs such as the STRIVE4YOU BE REAL Program is so important to community outreach!

The last category of interaction that we have identified, is a straight up Violation Interaction. This type of interaction is when someone knowingly, and without regard to your personal safety or comfort, grabs or touches you without your consent. This aggressive behavior is an extremely serious offense and should be addressed as such. More serious acts of this might include abuse, robbery, and physical or sexual assault. More commonly, however, a just as serious example, is that you have already had a prior interaction with this individual and have asked them not to touch you without your permission, and they continue to disregard your request. During Violation Interactions, verbal techniques are virtually unhelpful, since you have potentially already tried this approach; therefore, physical techniques are necessary to either control or to defend yourself. Therefore, we cannot encourage you enough to pursue our SEED firsthand self-defense training from a qualified instructor for ongoing classes.

In any interaction, boundaries must clearly be established. Each of us have our own Safe Zone, which we all must protect and advocate for. It is never, ever, ever, alright to touch someone without their permission, and you have the right and responsibility to say NO! Shout it from the rooftop loud and proud! You must advocate for yourself. Not a very vocal person, or not super comfortable advocating for yourself? That is understandable as many of us find it difficult to do so as it is not part of our nature. Sometimes, we all get to that point of being tired of advocating and feel it is easier to not worry about educating that person that just walked up and grabbed us and say to ourselves that they meant no actual harm! The problem with that is we start to lower our expectations of ourselves and others. You never know though that time that you think someone is trying to “help” might really have cruel intentions. We must address each interaction firmly, confidently, and take control! No worries though; we have an entire module dedicated to Communicating Safely later in this course and our certified Seed instructors will have upcoming workshops on this very subject for you to attend.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is so important in every aspect of our lives. It is simply defined as knowing what is going on around you. Or as we like to say, GET A CLUE! The APA Dictionary of Psychology defines it a little more in-depth, and a little more professionally, saying, “Situational Awareness is conscious knowledge of the immediate environment and the events that are occurring in it. Situation awareness involves perception of the elements in the environment, comprehension of what they mean and how they relate to one another, and projection of their future states.” We must use situational awareness in our everyday life to understand how information, events, and one’s own actions will impact us both presently and in the future. We have already discussed some of this in this course and we will certainly continue to examine this as it relates to safety. However, to put this in an everyday perspective, think about the ways you use situational awareness in your day-to-day activities. Examples might include:

  • Crunching the numbers within your monthly budget. That electric bill being $20 – $30 more than usual, or that unexpected expense that never happens at the ideal time.
    • Evaluating how these effects your budget is a notable example of situational awareness.
  • In business or as a professional when you take a hard look at trends, external threats from competitors, and maximizing your teams’ strengths from a SWAT analysis is certainly, a form of situational awareness.
  • For people with disabilities, we must take sometimes several steps to ensure success and safety with simple task. This requires us to either think ahead of time what arrangements or tools we might need to make accessible or think of on the fly once an unexpected situation occurs, we would have to quickly come up with a way to work around the problem in a tough spot.

            There are tons of examples of situational awareness, and how we knowingly or unknowingly strategize to make observations that then turn into making decisions that shape our current or future lives.

When it comes to safety, situational awareness is so important; we here at STRIVE believe it is fundamental to one’s safety. Constant observation of our environment around us, especially when we are out & about in the community, is an absolute must when it comes to keeping ourselves safe and avoiding potentially dangerous situations. We will most certainly go more in-depth on this subject in our Personal Safety module, but we always must be aware of our surroundings, constantly asking questions of who, what, where, and why!

  • Where am I and is the space I am in safe? Do I know exactly where I am?
  • Who is around me? Are they friend, foe, or both?
  • What are they doing? Are they approaching me, following me, or simply passing or walking in the same space?
  • Why is this person approaching me?
  • What is their intent? What is their demeanor? Are they Drunk or under the influence of drugs, sober, angry, loud, hostel, Friendly?
  • What type of interaction is this?

           During all three of the Phases of Safety discussed below, we must realize, understand, and apply what we know to determine answers to what we do not know to put us in the best possible position for an optimal, again, hopefully non-violent situation. During situational awareness we are gathering information to analyze and may or may not perceive a threat. Remember, not every situation or interaction is a violent one. It is just as important to keep in mind that not every potential threat is initially present or is easily identified until it happens. We must first determine what type of interaction it is, while at the same time, being prepared in case it has potential life-threatening implications. No matter the situation, we must, at all costs. take control of the situation and try to defuse the situation by applying de-escalation techniques as part of an appropriate response strategy.

Three Phases of Safety

            In the world of safety and self-defense, there are three widely accepted processes or phases we must go through to properly deal with any interaction, whether positive or negative. Now here is a Mr. Miyagi lesson for you! These three processes can be applied to every aspect of life and most of the time we do them subconsciously. So, what is this wisdom from the ages? They are:

  1. Recognize
  2. Analyze
  3. Respond

                Sounds simple right? It is not! Each phase may or may not happen instinctively. Any of these three can repeat itself or, if you are not careful, can be skipped over. Most importantly, to properly progress through the phases, to maximize each individual or all three phases’ effectiveness, it takes constant repetition and practice. Let us look at each one a little more in-depth and apply them to safety.


The first process to any situation, whether it is a positive or negative one, is to recognize. We first must recognize that there is a situation, problem, conflict, or interaction. In an instant our brain processes information instantaneously allowing us to identify or recognize. There are several actual definitions for the word recognize and to lay the foundation for this concept we will look at three of those definitions to help give context.

The first definition of the word, according to, is, “to identify as something or someone previously seen, known, etc.” A good example might be that an old friend from high school runs into you at the grocery store and comments that you have changed so much from high school that they barely recognized you. Sometimes recognizing something in this instance is comparing it to previous knowledge and noticing a difference. Two examples of this are a change outside of the norm or a potential problem. Another life example of this would be something like walking into your old house that you grew up in to visit your parents. Upon entering the door, you notice modern furniture, new lighting, and or a new color of paint on the wall. Your brain already has a memory or preconception of that old house, and its familiarity always brings you comfort. Ahh!!! Yet as you walked in your expectations were not what you expected allowing your brain to go wait a minute, it looks similar, but there is something different.

The second definition of “recognize” is like the first. It is “to identify from knowledge of appearance or characteristics.” In this situation someone describes directions to you to get to the library across campus from your college dorm. Being the good friend, they give you excellent directions, and they even giving you landmarks to reinforce that you are on the right path. When you set out on your adventure you start recognizing those landmarks giving you confidence that all is right!

Another example is when we were back in elementary school, at some point your teacher described to you the procedures regarding a fire drill, so you would know how to be safe if that situation ever happened. He/she not only covered the procedures for leaving the building, but also taught you that there would be a loud siren. You learned that when the loud siren went off it meant danger and it was time to get to a safe place. Now as an adult your brain is trained to recognize that sound or the sound of other sirens and understands instantly that there is the potential for harm. To tie it with what we have already learned, this is an example of situational awareness. See what we did there!

Thirdly, the last definition we are going to use for this concept is “to perceive as existing or true; realize: to be the first to recognize a fact.” This really brings us to how the act of recognition pertains to safety. Let us say you are walking down the street and in front of you, you hear a big commotion which you perceive through listening, a situational awareness technique, to be a potential altercation or argument. You can tell that the voices seem raised. All your Spidey Senses go off because you have recognized a potential threat, however, you are not sure if it is a couple of feet away, directly in your path on a side street, or in a building with an open window, since the noise has a bit of an echo. So, you continue your way with a slight hesitation. And then- bam! About fifty yards down the street, you walk up on a bad scuffle that is happening just at the edge of the alleyway that connects to the sidewalk you’re on. Now you realize that that perceived threat was exactly what you thought it might be. What you have unknowingly done is what is known in the Safety & Security realm as preforming Threat Recognition!

Taking a more thorough look at how this applies to safety, we must understand that Threat Recognition is the absolute first thing our brains do in an encounter with a potential aggressor or perceived danger. It is when we get our first information or indication of that potential danger. To some degree, this happens subconsciously, though it is a trained response that takes time to develop. Threat Recognition is the most important aspect of conflict resolution because there is still the potential for defusing the situation for what we hope is a peaceful solution. Having the ability to prevent a threat from manifesting even though the potential for conflict is already there, is so important and should be your primary objective. Defusing a potentially volatile situation before it has a chance to explode increases the likelihood that all participants will be able to walk away unharmed. The percentage of this successfully happening is increased tenfold when sharpened skills are used to identify the aggressor’s intent early-on, which we will discuss further in another module. Even in the worst-case scenario, practicing Threat Recognition can minimize the potential danger, will increase situational awareness, and will allow you to move directly to our second phase, Threat Analysis, faster and seamlessly. Without being aware of a threat, we are unable to react, analyze, or respond. And that folks, is the safety ball game!


Analyze is the second phase of our SEED Phases of safety. It comes directly after Recognition and is usually automatically transitioned into to the point that the two phases can happen together simultaneously. Again, remember we can apply this for everyday mundane activities, situations, and interactions. The definition is self-explanatory, but we like to be thorough around here! Good old Webster sums it up well, “to study or determine the nature and relationship of the parts of (something) by analysis.” Going back to our earlier example in the Recognize phase of looking at those daunting monthly finances, once we recognize that a bill has changed, we must immediately analyze our finances to see if this is a major problem, or if it is hopefully something, we can manage without too much inconvenience. Likewise, in the professional world, if you recognize a situation within your business, or with your team, before you can fix the problem you must analyze what the issue is, and what your options are to fix it, and respond to the problem appropriately. We go back to our earlier statement of using the information you know to figure out the variables you do not know. Only then can you make the best decision for the best possible outcome of your situation.

Regarding safety and protecting yourself, the Analysis process is widely referred to as Threat Analysis. This means that a threat has been identified (Recognize) and established as a reality (Analyzed). We must still understand and keep in mind that it is still possible during Threat Analysis to achieve a peaceable outcome with no physical contact. While this is the goal, it is by no means the only solution, which is why we perform Threat Analyzation.

Threat Analysis means identifying and optimizing the course(s) of action available once the threat has been established. It is the culmination of all the information gathered from Threat Recognition, and through an assessment, it leads to Threat Response.

            During Threat Recognition, we collect a lot of different pieces of information or variables that we must look at further to react appropriately to. Since we have already identified that not every encounter is a violent one, and nine out of ten times it is a benign intrusion of someone simply “trying to help,” we must make sure we are not turning into the unwarranted aggressor ourselves. We can analyze further these key factors during this phase to help us better understand the situation we find ourselves in:

  • How serious does the threat appear to be?
  • Who is threatening you, and are they alone?
  • Are you alone or surrounded by friends?
  • Are there other people (bystander support) around that might intervene on my behalf?
  • How confident are you at dealing with the situation whether it is or is not a threat?
  • What level of response is appropriate for the situation and leaves me within my legal rights?

            We will further explore these questions and ways to apply your analysis in our module: “The Aggressor”, later in this course. For now, we just want to introduce the foundational concepts, start preparing you for the mindset you need to have to better prepare you for the best possible outcome!


So, you have recognized a potential situation, you have determined what type of interaction it was, and have started considering all of the factors that make up your situation by analyzing the facts that you know and you start to try to figure out what you don’t know. Now it is time to take all this information and to respond which is the third and final phase of our three phases of safety. In this phase, you will apply what you feel is the appropriate response based on your evaluation of your circumstances to protect yourself, your loved ones, or others. Always remember defusing the situation so that everyone goes home at the end of the day, a little mad or annoyed, but safe to live another day is the golden rule of safety! Remember this throughout your studies of safety & self-defense; nothing any instructor or so-called expert on the subject can tell you, a technique or strategy, is 100% guaranteed to work or keep you completely safe from harm. Sorry to disappoint you, it is simply reality! Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying to you. Even our advanced instructors with over 30 years of experience each have found themselves in situations where they performed their techniques to the best of their ability, and yet walked away with scratches, injuries, or walked away saying that escalated faster than they had anticipated. This just must be reiterated for realistic expectations.

Okay, now back to the phase of responding. When we respond to a situation, let us say we are back to our everyday application, after determining we had an additional cost and though it was unexpected, we determine it was no big deal and simply paid the bill with no further consequences other than being out a few extra bucks we would have blown on fast food or that new Apple thingamajigger. Or, maybe that extra expense had to be accounted for by cutting into the grocery budget as we have all had to do before. Either way, the correct response was reached despite the consequence which, unfortunately, could have been even more severe of a consequence than our scenario. The point is, you made the best decision you could, given all the facts, and hoped for the best.

Now there are going to be people who say, “Well you made the wrong decision.” Who has not heard this one, “If it were me, I would have…”? The truth is no one can evaluate your thoughts, feelings, or thought processes. Only you can do that! And that is the same when you formulate your response to any given situation including safety and self-defense. You have undoubtedly heard someone standing up for themselves in court saying, “I feared for my life.” Now, we all have our own response or belief of whether they are being truthful. However, when it comes right down to it no one knows our own mindset except for us. Right or wrong, we all must make decisions and then must turn around and face the after-effects of those decisions. It is not always cut and dry, or black & white!

The physicality of having to defend ourselves against more severe aggressors can only be addressed in the SEED hands-on training conducted by a well-trained local instructor, which we cannot emphasize enough to you to pursue. However, in this course, we will delve into practical ways to deescalate situations ranging from a simple interaction up to those that are dangerous but can be defused or avoided. First though, let us dive a little deeper in our own physiological and psychological mindset when we are faced with any type of interaction.

The Fight, Flight, & Freeze Reaction

       Another natural part of this conversation is the instinctual reaction to potential danger called the Fight, Flight & Freeze Response. And, you better believe this has everything in the world to do with not only safety & security but is a huge part of the conversation of Threat Recognition.

Once we receive that first indication that something is not right, and especially when we are frightened, there is an instantaneous set of physiological and psychological changes/reactions that go on in the body and brain. The Fight-Flight-Freeze response is your body’s natural and automatic reaction to danger. It’s a type of stress response also known as the survival instinct, that helps you react to perceive threats. We still start with explaining what goes on in the body during this process. Fight or flight is the defensive response that prepares you to do exactly what it sounds like, and that is to stand up and fight or flee to safety. Your heart rate gets faster, which increases oxygen flow to your major muscles. Your pain perception drops, and your hearing sharpens. Pretty amazing how the body helps itself empowering you to react fast and appropriately, isn’t it? The body works similarly with the Freeze response, although your body stops moving, preparing for a blow or something bad to happen. Additionally, the brain tends to go blank out of panic. This momentary freeze could mean life or death in some severe cases. We will talk more about the potential aggressor later, but they are looking to catch someone off guard or to put them in a situation where they simply freeze. It makes it so much easier to get what they want! What we must do is practice breathing and keeping ourselves calm, and under control in situations like this, though it is easier to say than do!

The Fight-or-Flight, & Freeze reaction begins in the part of your brain responsible for perceived fear, known as the amygdala. This sends signals to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormone. The Fight, Flight, & Freeze Response is all controlled through two of many nervous systems in the body. One drives the fight-or-flight response, while the other drives freezing. How you react really depends on which system dominates the response at the time. Even seasoned SEED instructors have no idea how they will respond in a stressful situation, which is why we always train!

            Your body releases These hormones very quickly, which can affect you in many ways. Remember not everyone’s body reacts the same, and external factors such as prior experiences or proper training may enhance or lessen the effects. Here are a few of them we found online:

  • Heart rate. Your heart beats faster to bring oxygen to your major muscles. During freezing, your heart rate might increase or decrease.
  • Lungs. Your breathing speeds up to deliver more oxygen to your blood. In the freeze response, you might hold your breath or restrict breathing.
  • Eyes. Your peripheral vision increases so you can notice your surroundings. Your pupils dilate and let in more light, which helps you see better. (Obviously, this does not include those who have no sight).
  • Ears. Your ears “perk up” and your hearing becomes sharper. (This would not work for someone who is deaf).
  • Blood. Blood thickens, which increases clotting factors. This prepares your body for injury. (This may not be as correct for those on blood thinners).
  • Skin. Your skin might produce more sweat or get cold. You may look pale or have goosebumps.
  • Hands and feet. As blood flow increases to your major muscles, your hands and feet might get cold.
  • Pain perception. Fight-or-flight temporarily reduces your perception of pain.

            Now your reactions depend on how you usually respond to stress. So, if you usually remain calm and collective, then you might react more under control than someone that does not manage stress so well! You might find yourself transitioning back and forth between fight-or-flight and freezing, however this is exceedingly difficult to predict or control. SEED instructors have several developed tips & techniques to help you put yourself in a better position to manage a situation with the best mindset possible. Just know that all the training in the world can only help but cannot predict how the body will respond exactly. You already know this from your own experiences of being spooked, but usually your body will return to its natural state after 20 to 30 minutes. Remember to stay calm, work the problem, and most of all breathe!

            We’ve looked at the physiological reactions, we need to explore the psychological responses and effects involved with the Flight, Flight, & Freeze Reaction. Simply put, it is triggered by a psychological fear. Fear is a pre-conditioned, meaning you have associated in your mind a situation or thing with negative experiences. By nature, a fear or anxiety about a situation is started when you are first exposed to the specific type of situation and that fear or anxiety develops over time. The thing that you fear is called a perceived threat, or something you consider to be dangerous, uncomfortable, etc. Perceived threats are different for each person as it is based on everyone’s personal perceptions, situations, backgrounds, and other factors discussed in our “Understanding Safety & Security” module. When you are face to face with a perceived threat, your brain automatically thinks you are in danger. That is because it already considers the interaction to be uncomfortable, dangerous, or in some instances life threatening.

            Further on in this course, and certainly throughout your hands on self-defense training, our SEED Instructors will discuss strategies to help you develop skills to help you take a moment, breathe, and properly respond to different interactions you may encounter to help you keep better control. Continuing this internal assessment of our own mindset and personal perception on perceived threats, we need to better understand why and how we developed our own opinions on the subject.

Perceived Threats

          As we learned above, a perceived threat is a direct byproduct of fear. Fear is a very personal and highly emotional primal response. Did you know that some of the same chemical reactions in the brain are also associated with positive things like excitement and happiness? Yep, it does! Are you an adrenaline seeker? People who find watching scary movies, jumping out of planes, and those that thrive on extreme sports and other fear inducing situations respond to fear as pure excitement. Others associate the feeling of fear as a negative reaction, avoiding fear-inducing situations at all costs. Take a moment to figure out which one of the above you identify with. The experience of fear may be perceived as either positive or negative, depending on the person, experiences, influences, and background. This makes fear conditional. When you are a child, you are mostly learning the same mindset as your parents or as any other major adult with influence in your life. This means what perceived fears they may have you are more likely to have since you do not know any better. For example if a parent has been sexually assaulted as a child themselves, they may be more protective of your own interactions naturally, and therefore you might pick up on those same behaviors or perceived threats. A fear of spiders may also be a good example here. If your parent is afraid of spiders, they dramatically grab you, telling you to stay away from them, making it certainly possible that you may develop a fear of them as well. The point is that the fears that you formed during the developmental stages of your childhood may have been unknowingly projected onto you by those around you.

            However, you will just as likely develop some of your own for one reason or another. For instance, a fear of the dark that was instigated by watching a scary movie, childhood friends telling you about their fear of the dark, or one night as you lay in your bed with the lights out a toy fell or made one of its electronic sounds which spooked you. This is just an example of how that sort of thing starts out. It is only when we start experiencing different things and learning new knowledge from other sources does our perspective change.

If you study child psychology, you will learn that teenagers spend a lot of time learning new things and developing their own perspective. They have called it different things but during this time of being a teenager we want to know who we are. What makes us different or similar from others? Where is our place in the world? It is in this vein that we start learning about our previous perceived fears, start developing others through experiences and influences. We also start acknowledging stranger danger that our parents and others have warned us about in the past as well as understanding that not everyone in the world is nice, not all situations are innocent, and extra precautions need to be in place to keep us safe.

            Again, our perspectives change as we experience, grow, and are influenced through living life. This process of learning who we are does not stop in the adolescent years. We at SEED feel strongly that learning and growing never stops if you keep an open mind. As adults, we certainly realize we are not in Kansas anymore once we move out of the protection of our parents into this great big world of ours!

            If you have experienced a life of safety and security, you are going to view the world as being safe and secure. When you are sheltered and protected from violence you might be naive, not to its existence necessary, but to its harshness and how easily it can be introduced into your life. When you grow up or are in an unfortunate situation that is not safe or secure for whatever the reason is, you will have a different view on the world and how it affects your daily life. For instance, someone that grew up in a home where verbal or physical abuse was prominent, even if it was not directed at you, then you were given an abrupt life lesson and understand aggressive behavior better than anyone. As an adult if you were sexually assaulted or a survivor of domestic assault, the lasting effects mentally and physically shapes so much of your perspective and mindset on the world to the point that it impacts everything social from simple daily interactions to the ability or desire to have a relationship with someone. When someone experiences a dramatic event, they will sometimes develop what are called triggers. We will go more in depth in future modules, however triggers can have far lasting effects emotionally lasting much longer than the actual experience itself! The closest example we can give would be a service member becoming disabled after a traumatic combat event. A good majority of those individuals do not react well to loud noises, certain smells, spoken phrases, or many other things that mentally put them back in the middle of that traumatizing event because their mindsets have changed. You could also use the example of a regular old Joe becoming disabled as an adult. Their perspective has certainly changed on what the world is like. Many things that they felt so comfortable with, now maybe much more difficult to deal with.  What we must understand is that from birth every person’s experiences whether positive or negative potentially influences who we are, how we behave, and what our perspective on life really is. 

            To summarize, perspective and mindset really matter especially when it comes to safety. If you think that every time you leave your house something is going to happen to you, notice the negative experiences more in life than the positive ones, or not ever venture out of the comfort of your home, then you will live in fear. This can also work in reverse. If you are someone who views the world in sunshine and rainbows, then you will not notice the negative things going on around you. You may lower your guard too much and find yourself more trusting than you should. Therefore, it is so important to have a balance and a sharp sense of situational awareness! We must understand the different types of interactions, the boundaries to our own physical and mental safe zone and realize how important it is to advocate our consent within these interactions. Only then can we start to recognize and analyze the situations we find ourselves in so that we can execute an appropriate response for any given scenario to the best of our ability. Properly acknowledging how an incident or a violation interaction makes us feel both in the present and the potential effects it will have on our mindset and perception is essential for a solid foundation for safety & security. We must never forget that not every interaction is a violent one, nor is it always obvious in the beginning that an actual threat does exist. Staying calm, in control of the situation, and avoiding freezing up will help you effectively assess and react. While at the same time remembering the golden rule of safety, if possible, avoid potential harmful situations or defuse the situation before it has a chance to escalate into violence. Knowing that nothing is a 100% guaranteed, but this is the only sure way we can change the odds to better favor everyone going home at the end of the day safely back to our loved ones!