By EMILY KUMAGAI, Rafu Shimpo Contributor
84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee died after being violently shoved into the ground while walking in San Francisco. 70-year-old Mrs. Ren was robbed and assaulted in broad daylight within her apartment building. 85-year-old Chui Fong Eng was stabbed whilst waiting for the bus.
With the surge of Asian hate crimes in the past few years, senior citizens have been particularly vulnerable. According to a new report released by Stop AAPI Hate, one out of four hate crime cases against adults aged 60 and up were physical assaults.
Senior citizens, while rich in wisdom, often lack the particular physical strength or acumen to defend themselves in dangerous situations. In order to defend on their own, seniors should equip by themselves with the practical knowledge to prevent contact, escape dire situations, and handle the aftermath.
Here are three practical ways senior citizens can keep themselves safe, according to experts:
Have a Plan
Avoiding dangerous circumstances by planning ahead may be the best way to stay secure. Gene Kanamori, CEO associated with Keiro Services, suggests utilizing a buddy system to increase safety: “Call a friend to go to the market with you or arrange a delivery, let a friend or relative know if you are going out, tell them where and call them when you have returned safely. ”
Proper scheduling can also decrease your chances of being a victim. “Know what time you’re going out, ” says Kanamori. “If there have been a lot of attacks in the early morning or even late at night, avoid heading out during those times. ”
Megan Teramoto, small-business counselor for Little Tokyo Service Center, suggests avoiding wearing jewelry, watches, or other accessories that may attract unwanted attention: “Material possessions are never more important than my own life. If a robber wants my purse or bag, I was always taught to throw it in one direction and then run the opposite way. ”
Many victims of violent criminal offense never have the opportunity to escape or even defend them selves. “Situational awareness is the key in order to survival, ” says Sensei Art Ishii, head of the Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate-Do.
Practicing awareness may seem like an obvious and simple tactic, but it must be second nature to be effective. Ishii Sensei suggests scanning your surroundings and creating a mental checklist of potential dangers and escape routes. He calls this mental checklist the “what-if conversation. ”
Asking these “what-if” questions can help a senior formulate an effective plan before danger arises. Avoiding distractions is also important when practicing awareness. Looking at your phone or listening to music with both ears blocked will compromise your ability to detect threats. ”If you’re not paying attention, you won’t see the signs, ” states Ishii.
Fight or Flight
Although some may assume that self-defense means engaging in hand-to-hand combat, disengaging is most often the best course of action. David Ito, the chief instructor from the Aikido Middle of Los Angeles, cautions defenders to have a measured response to risks: “Be assertive, not aggressive. Aggressive responses can escalate the confrontation. ”
However , when forced into a combat scenario, victims are often ill-matched in bodily strength with their attacker. “When you have a bad knee, bad leg, or even two replaced hips, you may have to consider doing what was otherwise unthinkable, ” says Ishii Sensei. “I’m not talking about punching plus kicking and destroying your opponent. It is about using the minimum amount of strength plus skill necessary to escape the situation. ”
This can come in the form of creating a commotion to demotivate an attacker or to call for help. Utilizing tools such as alarm whistles and pepper spray (with the proper training) can be invaluable in a self-defense scenario.
“Sometimes we have to go against the particular social, cultural norm. Get loud, draw attention to yourself, escalate in order to de-escalate, ” says Ishii Sensei.
Older generations will tend to keep to themselves plus downplay their struggles. Values such as “gaman” (to endure), while beautiful, do not assist the community to avoid hate incidents. According to Stop AAPI Hate’s National Report, individuals older 61 years or older only reported 7% of all hate occurrences. Children old 12-17 documented 9%. It really is imperative that senior citizens attract attention to these crimes and that community members encourage them to do so.
“Reporting is key, ” says Ishii Sensei. “A part of our culture is not to draw attention to yourself or your situation. To be able to have an extra layer associated with protection and awareness, these types of [crimes] have to be reported so that we have an accurate understanding of the danger. Victims ought to understand that they are not to blame. ”
Los Angeles organizations such as the Koban in Little Tokyo or the Little Tokyo Service Center offer assistance in reporting hate crimes should service in other languages be needed. For Japanese speakers, Nikkei Helpline (NHL) is available to help handle crisis cases at (213) 473-1633
For those interested in arming themselves with self-defense knowledge, Ishii Sensei and his dojo have been holding several self-defense classes at various Japanese American community centers that are open to the public. The particular San Fernando Valley Japan American Community Center, 12953 Branford St ., Pacoima, is also hosting a self-awareness seminar with regard to seniors exactly where attendees may join plus listen to more detailed information on how to stay safe on Friday, Nov. 11, from 9 in order to 11 the. m.