Young men – particularly African American males – are generally seen as the perpetrators of crimes and are rarely given advice on how to protect themselves. However, it is important for these individuals to understand that they are at risk every time they step out of their home as well.
Perhaps, more significantly, these young men should be taught about what they need to do to keep themselves safe. To understand some of the fundamental steps you can take to protect yourself or your loved ones, keep reading.
Awareness Against Violence
Did you know that men between the ages of 18 and 25 were twice as more likely to be victims of a violent crime? In fact, across age groups, men still have a greater chance of being assaulted. Now, this isn’t the only thing that experts learned, however. It seems that these crimes are typically carried out by strangers as well. On top of this, they are more likely to occur on the streets.
So, the first thing you should teach adolescents and young men is to be careful when they go out and know which areas they should be most cautious about. Try to avoid places where such crimes have been reported regularly. If they absolutely have to travel to these spots, they should always go in a group as this can reduce the risk of violence.
One of the top things they should be taught is the importance of situational awareness. In other words, they should always know what’s going on around them. So, rather than being distracted by music or their phones, they should pay close attention to their surroundings. The more alert they are, the less likely it is that they will be taken by surprise.
Of course, the streets aren’t the only place that young men are at risk of violence. Whenever there is alcohol involved – at parties, bars, or clubs – things can escalate rather quickly. In instances such as these, young people should be taught de-escalation techniques.
To start with, they should never engage in a fight with a drunk person no matter how degrading or threatening he is. Rather, they should put their hands up and create distance between them and the perpetrator. Hopefully, other people in the vicinity will get involved and try to pacify the drunk man. The authorities should also be informed, if possible. If the drunk person does manage to calm down, remember to leave the area as soon as possible.
Talking to Young Men About Sexual Violence
With the advent of the #MeToo Movement, there has been a lot of talk about sexual assault and women. However, there is another topic lurking in the shadows – one that many people refuse to acknowledge. This is the fact that one in every ten sexual assault victims is male.
Many of these victims are under the age of thirty. Despite this, many young men don’t even realize that they are at risk of such attacks. This is because most people don’t like to talk about it. In fact, many even believe that “there is no such thing”.
Well, this does exist, and one of the best ways to prevent it from happening to others is to spread the word. It is important that young men are made aware that people of all genders and all ages can be perpetrators. And, they should be taught about right and wrong interactions with anyone.
If you are an adult and a man, some of this responsibility does fall on you. In addition to being more open about such subject matters, it is vital that you take a closer look at the people in your son’s, nephew’s, or ward’s life. Oftentimes, it can be as simple as visiting websites such as CheckPeople and carrying out background checks.
Most young men are made to feel ashamed about being vulnerable to such incidents. This is why very few people ever talk about it and even fewer make official police reports. Thus, adults need to be able to overcome their feelings of shame to address these crimes. They also need to create safe spaces where these young men are encouraged to voice their pain.
Dealing with Law Enforcement
Of course, African American youth have to face another threat to their safety: law enforcement. There has been an increasing amount of attention to the number of men who are assaulted or killed during arrests. Due to this, there should be a conversation about the best ways for young men of color to deal with law enforcement.
Unfortunately, there is no fool-proof way to handle these situations. The circumstances, the officers handling the case, and other factors can all contribute to the overall environment. Nonetheless, there may be a few things that young men can do to diffuse the situation:
One of the best options is to comply with the police completely. This means avoiding talking back or attempting to walk away from the situation. They should absolutely not physically engage the police in any way.
Even if a young man feels that the cause of the arrest or interaction was unjust, it is better to simply go along with it. He should wait to speak with his lawyer and privately to discuss the matter. Baseless arrests or accusations can be handled by filing complaints with the local police station.
Now, the above advice seems hardly fair by young men. Nevertheless, it is important to keep this in mind. After all, it will be quite some time until society and local communities will come up with a better solution to this situation.
These are the main things young men must be taught to stay safe in a hostile environment. This is especially important for individuals between the ages of 15 and 25. They are at the greatest risk of becoming a victim of violence or being mistakenly identified as a perpetrator. Thus, they need to be fully prepared before they can face the big scary world by themselves.