Client Case Study, Social Violence & Managing Fear (diary entry)

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Hour four of my client’s first Self-Protection course was another online soft skills lesson. We covered the following three areas:

Case study – My client reported a recent incident where he and a male colleague were met with potentially violent antagonism. The two actors were on their way back from their place of work towards a local train station. On the other side of a fence-line they were called out to by an individual who was clearly trying to bait them. He called out a typical rhetorical question designed to get a rise. My client felt that the matter would be made worse if he kept on walking, so engaged the individual with a laugh. The individual’s friend then encouraged him to laugh along, essentially turning what could have become an excuse for a confrontation into a joke.

My client’s friend had a slight physical disability that would have potentially made him more vulnerable, especially if they had to run. Although the targeting might be viewed as predatory behaviour, given by how quickly the incident was de-escalated it appeared to fall more in the social violence bracket. The individual probably felt affronted by the way my client and his friend looked, and felt some degree of insecurity. By having his provocation reframed as a joke enabled him to save face.

Social Violence – The above case helped better illustrate today’s set lesson. We looked at different perspectives and how this helps resolve a situation.

Managing Fear – I then introduced some foundational points regarding relevant fear. We began with all the inherent risks of violence, all of which my client could relate to. Then we looked at the consequences of not managing fear, overreaction, underreaction and no reaction. This was followed with some examples of the physiological systems of the sympathetic nervous system under stress and I explained the reason for them all from a combative perspective. This was followed by what is likely to illicit the fear response.