The Gift of Fear, Gavin DeBecker.  DeBecker is a security consultant whose firm provides risk assessment and security services to political figures, celebrities, and other high profile clients.  DeBecker developed the artificial intelligence program MOSAIC, used to assess threats to high level government officials including U.S. Supreme Court justices and members of congress.  The Gift of Fear is a comprehensive resource of invaluable information including:  a detailed study of the nature of violence and how to assess threats, the role of intuition in avoiding danger and listening to its life-saving messages if the stituation is unavoidable, techniques predators use to gain the trust of their victims, how to deal with a stalker, and warning signs that a new boyfriend may be a potential batterer or stalker.

A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do, Kathleen Baty.   Subtitled “The Ultimate Guide to Living Safe and Smart,” Baty’s book is tailored to the language, interests, and vulnerabilities of young women.  Teenage girls and young women are statistically more vulnerable to certain kinds of assaults and stalking behavior.   Baty knows this from hard-won personal experience.  She offers tips gathered not only through careful research, but also from her own experiences surviving more than a decade as the target of a persistent, dangerously aggressive stalker.  With Congressman Ed Royce of California, she helped pass the first federal anti-stalking legislation in 1996.   Like Gavin DeBecker, Baty is on a mission to give women the information they need to avoid dangerous situations and survive dangerous situations that cannot be avoided.  DeBecker is a fan of Baty’s approachable style and carefully researched material.  He carries copies of A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do in his briefcase to give to young women and teenage girls he believes could benefit from the information she shares.  

*If you are in a violent relationship or fear that your partner may become violent, it is crucial to work with experts to develop a personal safety plan based on the facts of your situation.  We strongly urge you to seek assistance. 


Concepts and Excerpts from The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecke

Excerpt from Chapter 10: “Intimate Enemies”

….there are many reliable pre-incident indicators associated with spousal violence and murder.  They won’t all be present in every case, but if a situation has several of these signals, there is reason for concern:

The woman has intuitive feelings that she is at risk.
At the inception of the relationship, the man accelerated the pace, prematurely placing on the agenda such things as commitment, living together, and marriage.

He resolves conflict with intimidation, bullying, and violence.

He is verbally abusive...

He breaks or strikes things in anger.

He uses symbolic violence (tearing a wedding photo...)

He uses money to control the activities, purchases, and behaviors of his wife/partner.

....He keeps her on a "tight leash," requires her to account for her time."

DeBecker lists 30 of these warning signs that a relationship may become violent or end in murder.  He also offers guidance on leaving violent relationships, including crucial decision factors for determining when a restraining order should be used, and when it could make the situation worse.

Chapter 5:  “Imperfect Strangers”  DeBecker describes several tactics predators use to assess their victims and convince them to trust the would-be attacker.  These include:

Loan sharking. (making someone feel indebted.)  Offering help even when it is not needed or wanted.  Women are often reluctant to judge the “helpful” stranger who seems to be “such a nice guy.”  They feel indebted and often dismiss intuitive feelings that something is wrong.  “He’s a nice guy, and he's just trying to help.  It won’t hurt anything to let him carry the groceries into my apartment if I leave the door open, right?"

​Stereotyping.  According to DeBecker, “A man labels a woman in some slightly critical way, hoping she’ll feel compelled to prove that his opinion is not accurate.  ‘You’re probably too snobbish to talk to the likes of me,’ a man might say, and the woman will cast off the mantle of ‘snob’ by talking to him.”

Forced teaming.  DeBecker notes that “Sharing a predicament, like being stuck in a stalled elevator….will understandably move people around social boundaries.  But forced teaming is not about coincidence; it is intentional and directed, and it is one of the most sophisticated manipulations.  The detectable signal of forced teaming is the projection of a shared purpose or experience where none exists:  … ‘We’re some team.’  ‘How are we going to handle this?’…etc.”