On January 9th a woman in Painesville, Ohio was assaulted and almost abducted from a local intersection. On January 3rd a stalker broke into YouTube celebrity Jenna Marble’s home after stalking her husband for two months. And on Friday, September 2, 2022, Eliza Fletcher was abducted from her routine morning run in Jacksonville, Florida, and later murdered. These stories resonate with women everywhere. Mike Bachich, Concentric’s Director of Protective Operations points out an unfortunate truth–there are more areas and ways to exploit women, especially with the rise in more advanced technology which allows you to pinpoint locations and track the movements of individuals.
- Globally, one in three women experience some type of violence.
- 90% of all adult rape victims are women.
- Roughly 40% of women in the U.S. have been a victim of sexual violence.
- Studies suggest 20% of women in the U.S. have or will be raped in their lifetime.
- 80% of all all harassment in public spaces is reported by women.
- In the U.S., 22% of victims of non-partner or non-family homicides are women.
- Globally, 72% of global trafficking victims are females.
So in this changing world, how can women protect themselves?
Sara Soomro, one of Concentric’s corporate intelligence associates, sat down with several members of Concentric’s Executive Protection (EP) team to get their views on what it takes to protect high-profile women, as well as their tips and tricks for ensuring any woman remains safe, no matter their background or their surroundings.
According to EP agent Shannon Gibson, when it comes to successful protection of high net worth women, the key is to find out early on what the client is looking for and their level of comfort with the security team, and adjust the security response to accommodate the client. However, there are small but equally significant differences all EP agents must consider when safeguarding women:
- Utilize Soft Skills. Concentric’s Chief Security Officer and former Secret Service agent Jim Morgan notes soft skills are essential when protecting women. Women often communicate and respond differently than men. A good agent should be able to communicate with the client to build a relationship, establish boundaries and comfort zones, and be flexible to the clients changing needs. Oftentimes a client may become uncomfortable or need to leave a situation for any reason. An agent should be able to creatively solve any problems to ensure not only the client’s physical safety but also their professional or public reputation.
- Remember, Male Agents Can’t Go Everywhere. Like women’s restrooms! Mr. Morgan highlights male agents can’t walk into a women’s bathroom, but agents also can’t leave the client to go unprotected. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Bachich both advise it is always best to ensure there are always some female agents on the physical protection team. However, while female agents are high in demand, there aren’t many in the field. In these instances, an advance detail is also helpful in scoping out the space and strategizing a response time in case of an emergency. Also, utilizing the venue staff and asking them to accompany the client to such places can meet your needs if you do not have a female agent on staff.
- Accommodate the Differences. Having protected a number of high-profile women in various countries, Mr. Morgan prompts agents to remain aware of important aspects such as women’s clothing. Heels, dresses, and loose clothing can impact a client’s security in an emergency situation. Agents are advised to take this into account when creating contingency plans. Another large difference between male and female clients is children. If there are children involved, they are more often under a woman’s care. EP agents need to ensure they communicate with their clients in advance to see if there are separate protocols for children.
But what about the average woman?
Most women cannot have someone following them around at all times looking out for potential threats, so what can women do to protect themselves when traveling or running errands? Ms. Gibson put it best when she said “safety is an individual responsibility at the end of the day.” Use your common sense and be attuned to your surroundings at all times. Ms. Gibson and Mr. Bachich mentioned a few tips which are helpful for all women:
- Travel with someone if possible.
- Always do research beforehand on any place you are traveling to.
- Practice safe habits and do not engage in behavior that can hinder your ability to ensure your safety.
- Listen to your gut! You have that inner voice, that feeling deep down when something is amiss. That voice is usually right.
- If you must share your location, wait until after you depart the area, particularly on social media.
Concentric is a leader in providing expert and professional protection services to our clients and we’re always looking for qualified agents to join our team! If you have great soft skills, have a passion for protecting others, and enjoy solving unique problems, check out our careers page for more information.
Author: Sara Soomro, Concentric’s Intelligence Associate, Global Intelligence