This evening, at our kitchen island.
Tracy: How was IGOLD today?
John: It was good. You would have loved it. The women of IGOLD gave our new governor a gift.
John: (grinning) It was like a shadowbox. Inside was a rat-tail comb, a key, and a tongue depressor.
Tracy: That's ridiculous.
John: It said "in case of emergency break glass."
Tracy: (confused) I don't get it.
John: These are suggested weapons the state says you should use in case of an attack.
Tracy: What do you do with a tongue depressor? And, if it worked, who carries one in their handbag?
John: (eyes rolling) You should use it to make yourself vomit.
I am not often speechless. I was tonight. Off to the Internet I went. Guess what I found! On the Illinois State Police website there is a list of "helpful" hints in case you are confronted by an attacker. Read the list here, or keep reading for the highlights (coupled with my editorial).
ISP says: "Fighting for your safety may be necessary. However, if you start out fighting you cancel any other options that might be open to you."
Tracy says: If my life is in danger, what alternatives are there exactly?
ISP says: "Since many attacks on women are not sexually motivated, and are designed to degrade and humiliate, talking your way out of it may be easier.
There is documentation of assailants that left a would-be-victim alone after she told him that she was pregnant and it would kill her baby."
Tracy says: I would like to see the documentation. I searched the news headlines and archives. I didn't find anything of the sort. Instead, I found a boat load of articles on Chris Brown beating the crap out of Rihanna.
ISP says: "It may sound disgusting, but putting your fingers into you throat and making yourself vomit usually gets results. (This method is not often used except as a last resort.) Use your imagination and you can think of others."
Tracy says: Do you think picking my nose will work?
ISP says: "The above methods [telling the attacker you're pregnant or that you have an STD] are particularly important if your assailant has a gun or knife, or there is more than one attacker. (Fighting would probably be futile)."
Tracy says: So suck it up? No way!
ISP says: "Articles common to your handbag that make useful defense weapons - nail file, rat tail comb, teasing brush, pens and pencils, keys, anything rigid."
Tracy says: What about a firearm? I've never read a headline that said "woman fights off sexual predator with a pencil."
The official title of the site is "Sexual Assault - If You Are Confronted..." I cannot believe this is advice from a law enforcement agency.
Bottom line? I'm insulted. A woman goes to this web page to learn what to do if she is confronted by an attacker and she's told to grab her teasing brush? I guess I'm defenseless. I haven't teased my hair since 1989.