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VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: MICHELLE MANU ON CBS NEWS
HONOR THE PAUSE
By: Kumu Michelle Manu, JD, MMsc
10th Degree Black Belt
Teacher | Self-Defense, Safety & Empowerment
Have you ever had an instance where you are in a great mood until you encountered something—or someone—that makes you react emotionally? This is how we define an “emotional trigger”. All of us experience these triggers. They provide an opportunity to resolve past experiences, or at least work towards acknowledgement, acceptance, and transcendence.
Triggers cause different types of emotional responses. They generally produce anxiety, anger, crying, panic, and other physical symptoms. The Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the Oscars was witnessed by 15 million viewers. We saw Smith get triggered and respond in anger that resulted in what would be considered a criminal misdemeanor battery in the state of California. Will Smith and Chris Rock may have made amends, but we haven’t.
The incident at the Oscars, on one of the most public stages in the world, was a very good thing. We’re not over it because, in some way, it has propelled us to dive into deeper and respectful discussions about societal programming on gender, ethnicity, acceptable public behaviors, and emotional triggers.
NBA Hall of Famer and Basketball Legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, wrote: “This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor.” (Kareem’s reader-supported newsletter on Substack.)
I was asked what I would do if my husband did not give me the opportunity to respond to an insult by inserting himself into the situation on my behalf. I responded, “I would be pissed!” I am a huge supporter of chivalry, especially for justice and in readiness to help the weak. However, I can handle my own justice against words, and I am the opposite of weak. I deserve the right to address the insult unless I explicitly ask for assistance.
If we allow, there is much to be offended by every day. While some of us will ask good questions such as: “Are we incapable as women?” “Do we blame media for the portrayal of gender roles?” “Do we get to lay our hands on others when we get upset?” “Do we romanticize the emotional eruptions by men?” “If he acts like this in public, what is he like in private?” “Is it possible for us to have self-control when triggered?” I wish to focus on the core of the issue as this is universal.
Emotional triggers are genderless. They are a part of the human condition. Smith is a human that was triggered and reacted. What he lacked was “The Pause”.
In the physics of nature, The Pause would be considered the feminine energy, or Hina, in the Hawaiian culture. The feminine is often symbolized as a spring; potential stored energy that waits to be utilized. As the spring transitions into motion, the stored energy transforms into kinetic energy (masculine).
In teaching the cultural warrior art of Hawaiian Lua, we physically move in both Hina and Kū (masculine) energies. In a martial or self-defense technique, the Hina can be seen in the set up that eventually leads to the contact. It is the wind up to the pitch in baseball, the process of the leg lift for a ballerina, the path of a block or strike in martial arts, the wind up of the kicker in football, and the set for a basket in basketball. Without the set up, you miss your target partially or fully.
In making our decisions in life, we should check in with our intuition (feminine) and intellect (masculine). In response to emotional triggers, there is The Trigger (stimuli), The Pause, then The Response. Have you mastered the ability to handle your triggers? A pervasive societal program is that immediate eruption into action is somehow romanticized as ‘manly’ or ‘tough’, but it is imbalanced and destructive. In its opposite, if you do not immediately react then you’re a ‘pussy’ or ‘soft’.
How Do We Honor The Pause?
- Trigger – Person, place, thing.
- Pause –
- Recognize. Give yourself a moment to recognize the emotions we are experiencing in response to the trigger.
- Acknowledge. Recognize and acknowledge our senses – what we feel, hear, smell, taste, and touch lead us into emotional or behavioral responses.
- Transcend. Remove yourself from the trigger. Write it down, examine it, stay thoughtfully grounded in the very uncomfortable present moment that helps us maintain control over ourselves. This honors who we are as we unravel and resolve – not just cope with – our triggers in private before they become public.
- Response – Action or non-action.
Unresolved triggers lead to more severe symptoms like violence, numbing with substances, chronic depression, anxiety, mood disorders, phobias, and much more. We should always prepare ourselves to respond in a way that keeps us, and those in our presence, emotionally and physically safe. Consistent realistic self-defense training is important to help feel and to actually be safe.
The energy exhibited by Smith in the incident is the very masculine energy and behaviors that scares the shit out of women. This is why we need to train and prepare. My motto is that if you touch me, I will touch you back and then some. I choose ‘Fight’ when given the options of Fight, Flight, Freeze, and Fawn. Consistent training and self-examination allows me to keep control over myself in all instances without fear, the ability to maneuver through my triggers, and tp better handle the trigger responses of others.
I believe America has a desire for authenticity and deeper connection with ourselves and within our world. With self-honesty and grace, addressing our emotional triggers is a very powerful place to start. Individually we are imbalanced; therefore, our world is imbalanced. The only way we can bring about balance and deeper connection is to evolve to understand ourselves better than we have.
Learn your triggers. Honor The Pause.
“I know my enemy. She is the old me.”
PROFILE OF A PREDATOR: HUMAN PREDATOR-HUMAN PREY
Map of the Battlefield
By: Michelle Manu, JD, BMsc
“A complex or stratified human society can be thought of as an ecosystem. Within it, humans (all a single species), because of their differing social classes, roles, and occupations, can act, in effect, as different species.
To the extent that some exploit others, we could say that some act as “predators,” others as “prey.” There may even be human analogues to subcategories of predatory behavior such as parasitism and infection.” – Richard Heinberg
Human predators are all around us. They are bullies, outwardly charming and seductive and secretly manipulative. Their lies, risk-taking, manipulation, and rage ruin lives and imprint lasting trauma upon their prey. There are many kinds of predators; emotional, sexual, social, financial, reputational, and more. While some predators do not violate the official written law, all violate moral law.
Scoping up, America has historically always portrayed a bad guy or a Boogieman ‘out there’, threatening its very sovereignty. It polarizes, distrusts, and heavily arms itself against other countries. This way of life seeps into our collective culture birthing extreme and violent divisive social and racial rifts. On a personal level, most are incapable of peacefully ending a relationship by wishing the other well and walking on without blaming. Why does there always have to be someone to blame outside of ourselves? We must use our emotional intelligence when evaluating what is really going on and what should we do – if anything at all. When it comes to predators, though, we must act, heavily arm ourselves with tools, and commit to protective actions. Predators are very real bad guys (and girls) that threaten our personal sovereignty, peace, safety, and desired fulfillment in life.
As predators continue to get away with their acts, they learn the best ways to deflect others from discovering their secret agenda. They enjoy the lack of accountability as their mission progresses. They devise different sets of values for prey and life. They can speak convincingly about socially approved ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ yet have no issues planning and committing their socially condemned behavior. They even cunningly find a way to insert themselves into environments of those they wish to victimize.
We are involuntary participants. I don’t think any of us knowingly signs up to be prey. Predators dupe us through developing a foundation of trust. They incrementally position through boundary-probing and studying the prey’s personality, belief systems, character, and routine. As the predator studies you, you unknowingly give inside information that allows the predator to manipulate the relationship into inappropriate places where the prey will unconsciously walk into the trap. Eventually the prey’s inner spirit starts to sound the alarm as s/he gets small glimpses of an imbalance and other behaviors involving sex, money, power, or the predator’s thrill of causing confusion, inflicting emotional harm, and mere pleasure of being able to affect his/her prey.
An emotional predator will confide his/her experiences and emotions (fabricated or not) to cultivate a false similarity with the prey. This similarity disarms the prey and makes him/her feel grateful that s/he has finally found someone that knows how s/he feels and can relate on a deeper level. In most cases, the predator isn’t trying to gain understanding. The predator is trying to gain character assassination ammunition. S/he hunts and gathers sensitive, personal, or embarrassing information to later use against the prey through bullying or blackmail to discredit his/her prey’s reputation and cause public shame and humiliation. Predators use delay tactics to lure and cause de-stabilization of their prey. This is particularly true when the desired prey holds a position of public prestige.
Part of the agenda is to immediately create an uneven playing field without the targeted person noticing. Predators will usually never share scandalous or embarrassing stories that could be used against them. But they will share many stories, in detail, that cannot be corroborated. To contrast a sexual predator to a social predator, the sexual predator will attempt to be more vigilant and exacting because the discovery and exposure of the sexual predator’s behavior would be far more publicly and criminally severe than a social predator.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF A PREDATOR
- Anyone Who Seems Too Perfect, Is. Predators usually hide their dark side until they get their target person deeply involved. Flattery, feigned kindness, on and off suffocation, and cracks in outrageous stories should provide clues and put you on your guard.
- Attentive. The predator begins the mission to cause dependency by his/her prey. Through kind calls, supportive texts, and messages like “I’m worried about you” “I care about you”, the prey begins to feel cared for, loved, and respected through the predator’s focus and regular attention.
- Be Careful of Props. The winning smile, the promises, the fast talk, the intense care and concern, and the gifts meant to distract you from the manipulation that may be occurring. “Any of these characteristics can have enormous sleight-of-hand value, serving to distract you.” ~ Robert Hare
- Blend. Predators don’t always stand out in a creepy way. Most do not stand out at all. They blend well and with a purpose.
- Boasts About Conquests. A predator might boast of his/her conquests.
- Deception. Predators are often extremely intelligent, charismatic, talented, and trusted. Even people who know them well cannot conceive that they are capable of exploiting others in any way.
- Manipulation. The predator will usually begin to mock, bully, and gaslight at the same time s/he will begin to lie, twist information, make the prey feel like s/he is the bad person, state how hurt the predator is, and that s/he doesn’t deserve this kind of treatment. After all, the predator has been so good to the prey. Usually the prey is emotionally exhausted and stressed that s/he will relent to the predator. This only further proves that the predator can control and manipulate the prey without any fear that the prey may challenge the predator. The slow drowning continues.
- No Conscience. Predators can usually compartmentalize and shut off any fear of accountability or consequences. They have no regard for emotional, physical, or other damage they might inflict. In fact, in most instances, this is completely normal behavior.
- Normal Behavior. Speaking of normal behavior, after the cycle of manipulative abuse begins and the honeymoon period is over, the prey hopefully starts to become aware of the behavioral patterns.
- Power and Control. Predators try to and can position themselves to wield a lot of control and power.
- Predator Plays Victim. They will use coercive control to get the prey to play the game of Cat and Mouse and will always blame the prey for what goes wrong; or if the prey refuses, the predator will manipulate him/her in whatever way s/he feels is necessary to teach the prey a lesson and/or try to again to get what the predator wants.
- Self-Image. A predator’s self-image is derived and continually reinforced by the predator’s ability to dominate others.
- Uniqueness. A predator believes that s/he has the right to act on his/her own set of rules because s/he is different – physically, psychologically, and experientially – than everyone else. Because of this, s/he will decide what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
ANIMAL PREDATOR-ANIMAL PREY
It is said that the lion’s work hours are only when he is hungry. Unlike the lion, the human predator never takes a break. There is no living in peace with prey until the predator is hungry again.
Like animals, humans do have ways of defending themselves. In the animal world, this is how they are aware of, avoid, or defend themselves in the face of predation:
|Survival Behavior||Animal Kingdom||Human Kingdom|
|Alarm calls give warning of an attack||Use your voice. Speak to trusted loved ones about what is happening.|
|Self-amputation or voluntary sacrifice of an appendage, such as a tail||You block the knife and your arm gets cut versus a full lunge into your gut. You will get hurt, physically or otherwise. How and when you respond will determine to what severity. Fight! Maneuver.|
IT IS NOT OVER TILL IT IS OVER.
Active at dawn and dusk.
|Change your daily routine. Be spontaneous. Do not be so forthcoming.|
|Cryptic||Concealed or camouflaged.||Our face to the world, our public persona. Do not be so forthcoming.|
|Fitness||Showing superior fitness to convey this will not be an easy acquisition||see Cryptic above.|
|Gustation||Sense of taste||Use of Pepper Spray or any like type of self-defense tool.|
|Signals that cannot be deceptively produced and therefore provide reliable information about an individual’s intent||Believe what you feel about the predator. You are not overreacting.|
|Predator success always depends on surprise.||Be aware! Remain calm. Counter the predator’s attempts.|
|Mobbing||Crowding or attacking as a group.||Your close friends and family help support you. Listen and trust them.|
|Olfaction||Sense of smell.||Use of Pepper Spray or any like type of self-defense tool. Use all your senses for safety.|
|Sentries||Animals stationed to watch for potential dangers.||Close family and friends provide this for us. We need to listen and not minimize how they are trying to help protect us. It is okay to need others.|
|Stotting||A springing or bouncing gait used by herd animals when chased by predators.||Surprise the predator. Flee! Get to mental, physical, and emotional safety!|
WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
- Remember that this experience is not your fault.
- Remember that predators are very in-tune to any subtle changes in the prey’s demeanor, tone, schedule, habits, and friendships. Predators will know if something has changed in any degree or dynamic.
- Remember that freedom from this enslavement is your birthright. But you must declare this to yourself and stand firm in voice (inner and outer) and in your actions. If you want to survive, there can be no deviation.
- Be consistent, be strong, and cut off all communication with the predator and any other actors s/he has brought into your life. Sadly, this does often include children or animals.
- Take regular self-defense classes that are rooted in survival, not the “know about” hypothetical. Regular hands-on training is necessary. “I understand that if I wish to survive a violent event, I might have to get violent.”
- “A good girl would react like this…” Fully purge yourself of the pervasive “Be a good girl” belief. Men, please purge yourself of the pervasive “You’re a punk” if you find yourself in a predatory situation.
- Participate in regular firearm safety and training. In the meantime, buy and learn a stun gun, taser, and slingshot.
- See trusted friends and family more. Do not isolate. Increase your connection to those who love and care about you.
- Write and exercise more. Increase self-love. Protection is self-love.
PREDATOR PROTECTION PLAN
- Make sure that you have a Predator Protection Plan in place. This is non-negotiable to your survival and should be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis. Support from your loved ones is essential. It will be difficult, but they really need you to disclose the reality of your experience, including what has and what is taking place. This helps them to understand how much they are needed.
- Animals evade predators through behavioral postures and movements, as we see in the above chart. A Predator Protection Plan is when prey adopts similar behavioral postures and movements. Declare to yourself that you will not be intimidated and will fight back, even if this is through steadfast silence. Some prey exhibit superior physical fitness to ward off an attack, while others flee, play dead, quickly respond and surprise the predator, exude foul tasting or toxic compounds, and make noises and even sacrifice non-essential body parts to survive the attack. You will choose the right response. Trust how your inner spirit is leading you. You got this.
- Do not blame yourself for unknowingly getting involved or associated with a predator. But once your inner spirit sounds the alarm, it is now time to jump into protective action, whatever you decide the action should be.
- You might be vulnerable within your blind spots. Predators know how to find and use your triggers, so the more you realize what you tend to fall for or pooh-pooh away, the more closely you can recognize what is happening and how to guard against it.
- Seek immediate professional help and emotional support while you navigate through and cut all ties with the predator. You may need help by legal professionals or law enforcement. You may have to file a police report and seek a restraining order.
- Make sure to keep all communications with the predator as evidence, just in case.
- Have your home security reviewed and upgraded.
- Change your technology passwords.
- Change your home locks.
- Let your employer know if you feel it is at that point.
- Be vigilantly aware, with all your senses, of your surroundings at all times even when you are with a group of people.
- You are worth it. Invest in your survival.
- Add anything else to your custom Predator Protection Plan that you feel will be helpful.
- Make a monthly calendar appointment to review and update your Predator Protection Plan and evaluate your present relationships.
SURVIVAL OF THE PREY
Recently I had an encounter with a sexual predator who has been hiding in plain sight. Sexual predators masquerade in many environments, some successfully do this as experts and industry-leading mentors, leaders, and teachers. My experience was with one of these types of predators; unbeknownst to me, he felt he was entitled to cross, manipulate, and redraw the professional boundary line.
I heard “I’m hurt” when his advances were met with my simple “No”. This is considered a form of Woofing, a technique to slyly induce sympathy from one’s prey in hopes to get the prey to become compliant.
He tried to normalize his behavior. He first implied, acted like, and then had to ask if something was wrong with me and if we could talk about it. We do not owe predators anything, including discussions that will only give them insight of how their cruel trap has failed.
Like in physical self-defense, there is no one fail-safe or ‘right’ way to handle an experience. Please never let ANYONE ever blame or shame you for falling, partially or fully, into a predator’s trap. Even the most world’s foremost experts on predatory behaviors can still be duped by a predator in short interactions. Putting this together, it was truly heartbreaking to see that those that did respond to the public call for experiences had a difficult time choosing just one experience to share. I would guess that this goes for many of you reading this, myself included.
THE CIRCLE OF LIFE
The Circle of Life is symbolic for birth, survival, and death. To me, this also means our self-evolution. With this in mind and spirit, let us vow to make it difficult for predators. Let us be cunning and strategic. Like in the animal kingdom, let us evolve for every stage of this predatory experience, namely by avoiding detection, startling the predator, warding off attack, distraction, fighting back, defensive structures, or escaping when we realize we have been ensnared.
I hope this writing has helped you to evolve a little, at least give you things to really think about. In the end, we all lose – the predator, the prey, those loved ones that are collateral damage as mourners. This predator-prey dance impacts everyone. When you realize that you have involuntarily been deemed as prey, I hope you will surprise and strategically snare the predator. Let it be known that you will not be hunted. #notprey.
“The way to reason with a predator is to make it aware that it can live in a cage, or it can die, but it can no longer prey upon us.” – Massad Ayoob
“Lions are born knowing they are predators. Antelopes understand they are the prey.
Humans are one of the few creatures on Earth given a choice.” – Patrick H.T. Doyle
“If we act like prey, they’ll act like predators.” – Alyxandra Harvey
Coming up the way I did
You had 20 eyes in your head
Shut all windows, lock the door
So no one could get to you anymore.
20 eyes I’ve had to have
To make sure that nothing bad
Would occur like it did before
When he came sneaking through my door.
He violated me when he shouldn’t have
Didn’t know how to tell Mom and Dad
I thought of it, to walk down the hall
To tell them he did it, to say it all.
But I learned to fight back, I learned to protect
So I was ready to stop them if I dare reject:
The whole lot
Had to keep running, I couldn’t get caught.
Over the years I’ve lost my eyes
As I’ve learned to deal with the girls and guys
Creeping and stalking, like tigers they prey
Leering and leching even to this day.
Now the eyes are only four
Don’t need the other 16 anymore
I’ve got two in the front and two in the back
And if they fuck with me I will more than attack.
Be your own Hero!
– H Trudnich
To Download The Entire Article Including Survivor Profiles Click on Link Below:
Profile of a Predator, Human Predator-Human Prey.