I was eight years old, and Ryan was my best friend that lived in the house across the street. I still remember seeing the bullet holes in the glass and walking through the house as he explained the story that came down to this tragic ending: He heard his mother beg for her life before being murdered.
My family didn’t talk about the murder much other than it was a tragedy. I was just beginning to learn about death on a different level and I knew I would never see Ryan’s mother again. The town I grew up in had a very low crime rate, with a population of around 16,000. This kind of thing just didn’t happen in my community. As you can imagine, this terrible tragedy had a profound effect on me as a child. This began the haunting feeling of being afraid for my own safety, leading to not even feeling safe in my own home anymore. We’ll all agree this isn’t a desirable step in any child’s development.
Years later, I saw how my extreme fear paralyzed me for years while growing up. I started to have violent nightmares and I would sleep walk often. Even when I was a teenager I was afraid to be home alone and I would hide in my closet until my parents returned.
I had taken steps as an adult to learn some safety skills which brought me peace with my past, or so I thought. Two years ago, the event that finally forced me to change my life once and for all was when I was targeted by a predator with my two daughters at a sporting event. Luckily my brother came into the game and I was not assaulted, but the feeling of freezing and not proactively protecting them bothered me so badly that I started to do my own research on self-protection skills. The feeling of fear, alarm, panic and terror struck a cord deep inside. That day changed me.
Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.
-Henry H. Tweedy
Fast forward to the present: educating and empowering people to help save lives and keep people out of harm’s way is my mission. I am no longer hiding from my fears; I am using my past experiences to fuel my passion for teaching men and women about courage, predator mindset and the opportunities predators look for as they plan to assault others. I want others to use this knowledge to inspire the development of one’s personal safety skills.
Whether you know it or not, missing the skills to protect yourself causes levels of fear and anxiety that can paralyze you, keeping you from living the life of your dreams. If chronic enough, it is a stress that can effect your physical health as well.
It’s important to remember that most people we encounter are really good people. Unfortunately, there is a smaller element in our population with a predator mindset, those who look for opportunities to victimize and violate others when they least expect it. Look at the latest FBI Uniform Crime Report to see that violence is around us.
In today’s distracted world everyone wants to feel good all of the time and no one wants to talk about the elephant in the room. The video I created, “Are You Distracted?”, was meant to bring out deep seated fears, forcing people to reflect on it and talk with their loved ones about the unthinkable because bad things happen to good people all of the time. There’s no time like “now” to address these issues.
The stories that have disturbed many for years keep coming in and I want to share just a few more with you:
“I have been the victim of both sexual trauma and relationship abuse. I have been robbed at work and I think that has a lot to do with why I started training/lifting weights. I think that education, being aware and setting yourself up for SAFETY are key ingredients that I was lacking and probably still am. I love your valuable and life saving service.” – The Victim
“I think your video is fantastic and it really moved me. I wish there was a video that could have helped me. I am 21 years old and from the UK. When I was 15, I was walking through a car park during the day time full of people and I was pushed into a car and raped and abused. More girls need education as it happens anywhere and any time. Thank you for educating our girls!” – The Victim
The probable fact is that most people reading this blog have had some sort of very difficult situation that you were faced with… either happening directly to you or someone else that you care about very much. Let’s walk this journey together. Share your situations and we will talk about learned lessons.
Let’s make it our combined mission to help someone else… even if it is just one person…
Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.