Empower Yourself with RAVES
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Many of the high schools I teach at are adopting a 'no mobile phone' policy for 2020. I applaud it. In 2019 five (5) women where killed in Australian public places. Two (2) of them were ON THE PHONE while being murdered. Teaching your child to 'pretend like they are on the phone' when being followed could be putting them in more danger, because it doesn't take a smart psychopath to see that they are distracted. Until we master bi-location and teleportation there is nothing a parent can do but listen to what happens to our children if they are on the phone.
We must also remember that the mobile phone is a piece of technology that publicly broadcasts:
1. the comments of trolls that are most likely to cause our teens to consider suicide and self harm
2. access to free pornography that exposes our children to violent sexual disfunction
3. shows the status, movement, associations and availability of our children to online sexual predators
The social dysfunctions gaming and device dependance cause are also obvious and well documented. Any parent who gets tough on devices will know there is a 'decompression' time with kids and teens while they get used to the idea.
I'm going to be controversial here, but honest. The phone will not protect your child. In fact, it will endanger them with the potential distraction/ addiction/ affliction cycle that is the very design of social media and online content.
School teachers don't have the time, nor are they allowed, to go public on this major health epidemic. But every time you hand a mobile phone to your child, you may be enabling their personal safety demise.
I can almost guarantee that you gave your child a device on the benevolent premise that it was for their safety so that they could call you and keep in contact with you when they need you the most. So they could call you if they are in trouble, being abducted, being threatened - need help. But what if I told you that the phone is the reason that they would be targeted in the first place? And when they are targeted the phone will retard any natural survival instincts they may have, and long after an incident, will trigger or compound mental health issues.
Statistically that phone won't be used to save them, but will enable their demise. The phone makes your child a really good victim.
I have been teaching self defence and personal safety to high school students for 14 years. What I see in classrooms would make most parent's hair fall out. Our kids are in trouble - mentally, emotionally, socially, intellectually, and physically - and we are enabling it when we give our children unfettered access to their devices without rules or regulation.
I have seen a degeneration in our teens physical coordination - in their inability to know left from right and in their ability to hear a direction and react immediately. A large number of teens that I coach are no longer able to count, talk, hear and move at the same time. Why is this a problem? These are the very simple human tools required to be taught, to be coached.... To survive.
I have witnessed a decade long degeneration in our teens ability to regulate their emotions as I witness classroom outbursts similar to my 4 year old child's tantrums. I see growing numbers of students being unable regulate their emotions and I see teachers struggling to teach because the majority of their days are spent in behaviour management. In one 50 minute class I will use behaviour management tools for at least 10 minutes a class. And so now I see smart and motivated students being left behind as they drift off into their 'same day, different circus' learning reality.
I have witnessed social degeneration in classrooms and a lack of basic empathy toward other humans. Ok, ok. Socrates himself was famous for bemoaning the self-centred ignorance, arrogance and general lazy nature of Ancient Greek teens. This is nothing new to older generations as they outgrow the frivolous nature of youth. Youth is misspent on the young. But what is new is that the brains of our teens appear to have been deprogramed and then reprogrammed - and it is not a program of resilience. It appears to me that whole swaths of our mind, body, spirit complex died when we become dependant on iOS technology.
My experience as a sexual assault investigator tells me that your child will replicate whatever 'comfort behaviour' they use daily to sooth themselves in a stressful situation. For example, a teen girl will often giggle during a sexual assault, the same as she will giggle, whisper and eye-roll with her friends when reprimanded for disruptive behaviour. I have had court cases tossed where sexual assault victims state they giggled during the assault because they felt uncomfortable.. Important teaching moment here: a giggle does not imply consent. No. Absolutely not. No consent given. But - I wasn't given the opportunity to teach our learn-ed predominately male judiciary that this is conditional gender behaviour. Conditioning that began the moment a kindergarten teacher claps 'inside voices, outside voices' or 'girls, close your legs,' and 'ladies, don't yell.' The sort of conditioning where females were not welcomed into live coverage full contact sports without wearing lingerie or being tossed into a tub of jelly - until very recently. The same conditioning where you can see boys schools during lunch time tackling and playing ball sports, and drive 100 metres down the road to a girls school and see students sitting and talking.
I can't undo a system of inequality that has created this conditioning (yet) but I can teach parents and their children to start watching how they unconsciously react when they are under stress. And when your teen is under stress it is most likely they will reach for a phone.
The conditioning of habit at the cost of survival is endemic across all our generations. Our iOS generation will reach for the phone the same way that mums have been shown in recent disaster victim studies to clean their kitchen, put on a load of washing or walk around in circles muttering and giggling (or phoning their mum) when being told to evacuate immediately. For this study, click here. It made me realise it is my natural reaction when under stress to clean and stack. My kitchen benches are all going to clean and sanitised before the arrival of a cyclone at the expense of my children's survival. This is embarrassing, but true. Self reflection is always going to a vital tool in my personal safety tool belt.
Recently I was telling a group of grade 11 students the story of a young Russian woman who was fishing with her dad when they were both attacked by a brown bear. The young woman, a psychology student, climbed up a tree and used her phone to call for mother while her father was being attacked. The bear - a new mother - may have instinctively assessed the young woman as easy prey and went away to rally her starving cubs. She returned with her brood to find the injured girl in-situ, and on her phone. So the whole nightmarish feast continued all the while a frantic and helpless Russian mum remained on the other end of the phone, listening to her daughters agonising demise. Listening, and able to help.
This is not just a climate change warning about humans encroaching on the animals kingdoms natural habitat and an apex predator trying to feed her starving babies. It is a story of a deterioration in human survival instincts. It is a complete inability to assess risk, react and act - using our body and mind simultaneously to remove ourselves from danger.
For every second we are on that phone, searching for that phone, or wishing we had that phone, we are food for bears. Figuratively and literally.
I had just finished telling this story to a year 10 class when I saw one of the students playing with her phone. Perhaps this story made her uncomfortable, so #ironically she turned to her comfort source: her phone. I gave her a warning. I told her to put the phone away. She sat on it and said "you can't make me." I could make her, but I was more concerned about teaching the session to the majority of students who were engaged and willing to participate.
Later in the session I was teaching sexual assault strategies and discussed ABS statistics indicating that 1 in 3 Australian girls under the age of 16 had already been the victim of sexual assault. This statistic suggests that at a hand full of females in the classroom at the time may have already experienced assaults. This may have made my 'phone sitting student' uncomfortable. Or not? So she got her phone out again and started to show her boyfriend something that was incredibly interesting and started chatting loudly to him. Her boyfriend seemed uncomfortable with her behaviour and the rest of the class restlessly shuffled trying to ignore her one-sided conversation.
I related to my phone gazing student that while she may not be concerned about her personal safety statistically the person beside her may already a victim (1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before the age of 16), or will be in the future, so it would be selfish to deny them the right to learn strategies to keep them safe. I told her to put her phone away or to leave the classroom. So with a great gusto, and the most physical activity I had seen from her all day, she threw her arms in the air and left with a cloud of obscenities and statements blaming everyone else for her predicament. "I wasn't even on the phhhoooonnnnnneee!!! This is soooooo unfair." She left the room with a phone held fist pump and the slam of a glass sliding door. The teachers looked on as if this was all completely normal. Just another day at the circus.
Her behaviour was similar to a drug addict being denied a hit. Violent. Irrational. Erratic. Inconsolable.
This is what I see in classrooms where there is a loss of control in device usage.
But let's step this story a little further. This student, when feeling triggered, may then use her phone as she is hiding in the school toilet to attack her 'frenemies' on social media. To attack the school. To attack teachers. To attack me. These attacks will lack emotional intelligence, the ability to discern, and most certainly lack empathy. Her brain will be stuck in lizard brain - the brain that attacks, plays dead, and then attacks again. The same brain that trolls and bullies and lashes out. The same brain that blames other people for how they feel. But let's think about the people that may be at the end of the attack: they too may have a dependance on their phone, and a lack of emotional resilience. So when they read/ hear/ are confronted by the outburst of a lizard brain this may trigger a defensive reaction within them. Lizard V Lizard. And then they may start to lash out via social media - or - spiral into depression. And we don't need the statistics on teen suicide to see where this is going. The phone has caused a cycle of mental illness, dependance, and aggression, and has enabled countless premature deaths. Are we brave enough to put a number to a death toll?
The very nature of social media and gaming is to create a cycle of emotional and mental addiction to devices to encourage its ongoing use and collection of our data - and our money. Our children are the first to be raised with this technology during their tender formative years and it is yet to be seen what the full impact will be on their ability to operate independently in the world. We already have statistics from our trade industry that only 20 -30% of apprentices are currently completing their qualifications. We know that ear buds are damaging our hearing and generating chronic pain. We also know that children have reading and writing resistance due to poor hand muscle tone and limited ability to concentrate without the need for text to speech, synth music, and entertaining videos edited beyond form or function.
Without boring you too much let's think about a couple of times the phone puts your child at risk:
So, this is really a no brainer. We don't need governments or schools to do something about this. It is as simple as reassessing the reasons that you believe that your child needs a phone in order to be safe.
What our kids really need right now is you.
Monday, May 25, 2015
I cannot begin to heal your pain, but I want to give you some practical advice to take away some of the trauma of reporting of something that has happened to you in the past. It may have been 30 years ago, or a month…. But it will be defined as a ‘historical’ sexual assault when there may no longer be any physical evidence that can be gathered by police. Physical evidence includes medical evidence collected shortly after the incident, clothing worn (and not washed), photos of injuries, DNA collected from the body and under the fingernails. Anything from which the offender’s DNA might have been transferred to prove their physical proximity to you.
This then changes the nature of the investigation, but not the outcome in court. So please don’t worry about this. Save your energy for healing, ok?
I am all about supporting you as a survivor, and taking you away from the negative connotations of being a victim. Let my experience as a former sexual assault investigator help you. I may not know everything, but I want to give you a place to start. Because I have found everyone is too busy being ‘PC’ and stepping on eggshells that they are ignoring your need for real advice and practical guidance.
So take a deep breath, and let’s get started.
Book in a time of day, get a babysitter, find a room, a coffee shop, a library private reading room. Write down or audio record your experience. Don’t leave out your feelings… record sight, sound, smell. Include EVERYTHING, uncensored and unabashed. Write like no one will every read or hear it.
After this process then consider what investigators need to know… and consider whether reporting is a process you wish to pursue.
1. Your relationship to the offender.
You must never feel guilt if you knew and loved your offender. Never. It is a misconception that you had to hate your offender and that the offences committed against you where traumatic.
I have also taken reports when offenders have spoken of ‘love’ and ‘going on a date’ while the offences was being committed.
Just because what happened to you wasn’t a common storyline that you watch on a TV crime scene show or Hollywood blockbuster does not mean it is not an offence.
And I must also reiterate, that a child in Australia is legally not capable of giving consent to sexual acts. It is irrelevant whether you told the offender to stop or not.
Guilt and judgement are wasted emotions. Please do not let this effect the ability for you to report the incident as it happened. Please do not leave out any details because you fear that it will affect the validity of your experience.
2. Not all sexual assaults leave physical scarring.
The vagina or rectum does not have to be torn, bleeding or bruised to prove rape. It is a real option not to resist when you are fearful of the offender (or in the case of multiple offenders).
3. Time, date, place.
Recalling the time, date, place is paramount to determine your AGE AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT.
At least 1 in 3 sexual assaults occur during childhood.
Let me make this perfectly clear in the most basic English:
If you are under the age of 16 - if you are 15 years or younger - in Australia you cannot consent to sex. Any sexual act is an offence. This age rises to 18 in South Australia and the Northern Territory. In some states the age is of consent is older again if the person is an adult and in a position of authority; like a priest, teacher or coach.
Looking at these statistics it is no surprise that reporting is often recalling an incidence that happened in childhood or adolescence. This is when at least 1 in 3 sexual assaults occur.
It is not uncommon for these assaults to go unreported until the victim is aged 30 years or older (just look at the #metoo campaign). It is a neurological fact that at around the age of 30 you come into a matured emotional intelligence that comprehends past trauma.
I distinctly remember hanging out clothes when I was about 30 and recalling an incident that happened to me when I was 16, and thinking, ‘WOW, that guy would be arrested if I reported him now.”
I had been a Police Officer for 10 years by that time, had already studied for my detectives appointment, arrested numerous paedophiles and sexual offenders, and had never once looked back on my own adolescence and recounted one of my own experiences as a criminal law offence. This, coupled with the (unnecessary) emotions of shame and guilt further compound the amnesia state that a teen or young person will experience after a a non-consenstual sexual experience (i.e.: rape).
Such is the nature of our intricate and amazing brains and it’s ability to compartmentalise trauma.
How to recall time, date, place OF EVERY INCIDENT you wish to report is the key to making this process easier. Particularly if you where a child and had limited ability to correlate times, ages and places.
How do you do this?
Do you remember a special event that happened shortly before or after the incident? Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, summer holidays?
Was it a regular occurrence that happened during a particular time of day? How do you remember? What images spring to mind that remind you? What were other people doing at the time?
4. Where you under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time?
This is not to weaken your case, but the reverse. It may account for why you can, or can’t, remember certain things.
How much did you have to drink? What where you drinking? What sort of drugs did you take? How did you take it? How much? Over what time period? Where you also on prescription drugs at the time (very important to consider the effects of drugs taken together). How did it affect you?
I must also reiterate, depending on the State in Australia where the offence was committed, a person cannot consent to certain sexual acts if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is a vital fact investigators need, both for the investigation but also the possible cross-examination that may occur if the incident were to go to trial.
5. What did the offender say to you?
If the offender spoke to you before, during, or after the incident, what did they say? The best way to write it is like this:
He said, “Would you like some cake?”
I said, “No, thank you.... sugar is bad for the tummy.”
6. What level of penetration occurred.
Whether we are talking about a penis, a finger, or an object, it is vital to explain the level of penetration that occurred.
Use correct terminology:
The only thing that dies when we use the term penis and vagina is injustice and sexual dysfunction.
I know it makes people squeamish… but I believe that if we were all a bit more open minded about sex, then this unnecessary shame would not be an issue.
No shame, ok….. let me be that little voice that reminds you. No shame. No guilt.
'No' means 'No'.
There is a difference between a bad sexual experience, or a sexual experience that you regret, as opposed to proving beyond reasonable doubt to a jury of 12 people that your words and actions showed that no consent was given.
I will reiterate once again, if you were legally incapable of giving consent at the time, for example under the age of 16, or affected by drugs or alcohol to the extent that you are losing consciousness, you are unable to give consent. Consent is not a factor.
8. Have you told someone about what happened to you?
Who, when, how and what happened as a result of the conversation is vital to forming a big picture of the incident.
Did you write anything down? Did you have a diary (whether you wrote about it specifically or not, the entries and dates around the time of the incident could paint a very important physiological picture)? Draw pictures, paint? What relevance did it have to your situation and the incident?
Remembering special events, places and details – no matter how trivial they may seem to you – can help investigators to paint a greater picture. You may never understand the relevance, but investigators have many tools that they use to build a case.
Your head will be spinning by now, so I will give you some space to breath and sit with this information.
There are only two pure emotions in this world: love and fear. Anyone who has ever come in contact with you has only ever acted out of one (or both) of these emotions.
I write this from a place of pure love, and a need to surround you with it and whisk away any fear. No matter what, please believe you are a human BEING, not a human DOING. BE well, BE safe, BE WHOLE. Don’t let anyone take that from you, OK?
CRACKING OPEN VICTIM MENTALITY
There are 3 re-occurring themes I have documented in taking a victim statements and conducting victim research.
1. It's not fair*
2. I didn't think it would happen to me...
3. I was waiting for someone to help me*
*there is nothing fair about sexual assault, causing bodily harm and depriving someone if their liberties, am I right?
*now with a response time of 20-25 minutes if emergency services are even alerted, there is only one person capable of saving you in a life threatening situation. The whole, 'be your own hero' meme might be gag corny but it is so fundamentally true in all aspects of our wellbeing.
But I really have an itch to expand on:
2. I DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD HAPPEN TO ME.....
The older I get, the more case studies I integrate, the more I realise this is a half truth. Every woman at some stage has thought, in great detail, about 'what might happen to them'. They have thought about what they should wear, where they should walk, park, travel to prevent someone attacking them..... Having the shadowy thought that the person they about about to meet actually wants to kill them, not just date them/ interview them/ change a water filter/ share ride / [fill in your blank].
No. I need to expand this to "I was always afraid it would happen to me, I just didn't plan for it." I find this particularly true the older a person gets.
Here is the conflict, and the irony, if you will.
I am a huge believer in the law of attraction. Whether in physics or in esoteric teachings the saying 'where your thoughts go, your energy flows' is the cornerstone of cause and effect.
So how do I teach personal protection skills without generating fear?
My teaching involves brain hacking, or neuro shortcutting, so that my students think, develop and practice words and sentences to 'call out' offences as they are happening.
"Your touching my leg"
"Your touching my hair"
"Stop the car"
I remind you to prioritise safety over manners.
I activate that sovereign part of your being that radiates "Why not?" instead of "Why me?".
"Come at me life..." over "... come help me."
Because we have all had 2am conversations with invisible people reliving stronger, more powerful conversations. Admit it.
We yearn to flex our sovereignty.
RAVES is your future self coming back to teach you how to say it, like you mean it, in the moment that it matters.
I remember the first time I went to an ATM to withdraw money. It was ridiculous how scared, incompetent, fumbling, slow and ridiculous I was to the people waiting in line behind me. But weeks and years of habit and necessity removed the fear and instilled a practice so you can literally see an ATM quacke (or quack?) in fear as I approach it to ram my card in its mouth. Bow down before me money machine! People behind me watch my mastery!
RAVES is about facing down fear and creating patterns of empowerment.
You are more powerful then you realise and it is time you and I took the red pill, together.
Book into our RAVES Self Defence North Brisbane Session, or empower employees with RAVES at your workplace.
Personal Protections Expert and Keynote Speaker.