Vermont women's safety group advises caution during the holidays - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont women's safety group advises caution during the holidays

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"It's better to be rude than to be dead," says Christine DiBlasio from the non-profit TheSafetyTeam.org.

Christine DiBlasio and The Safety Team say when it comes to holiday time safety, people need to take charge of their personal security.

"There's more crime. There's a lot more retail thefts," says The Safety Team's Karen Chevalier listing the potential hazards women face during the holiday season. "This time of year with Christmas coming, there's a lot of drunk drivers we have to deal with, a lot more alcohol, a lot of parties that go on this time of year."

Chevalier is a member of the non-profit which is made up of six Vermont women from Franklin and Chittenden counties. She is also a police officer with the South Burlington Police Department. The group also includes a toxicologist and a psychologist. They all say their backgrounds have brought them together to empower women to know how to protect themselves, especially during the holidays.

"At a holiday party, you may be meeting people that you really don't know very well. So, I encourage you to think about who you might end up being alone with," said DiBlasio.

Darci Richardson Miller is a toxicologist by day and says enjoying holiday cocktails is fine, if it doesn't get out of hand and you keep aware of who you are with.

"Statistically, 50 percent of rapes and sexual assaults that are reported involve alcohol in either the victim's use, the perpetrator's use - or both," she said.

Shoppers should also be cautious.

Holiday time shoppers are often targeted. Williston police say they are looking for a woman who stole a purse with a thousand dollars from a shopping cart at the Hannaford Supermarket Thursday.

The group says last minute holiday shopping can make people vulnerable. Predators like to attack those who may seem overwhelmed with packages or gifts.

"Let's just say you're putting your holiday packages in your car and it's dark and someone approaches you to help you and you say, 'No, no, no thank you' and they continue to approach you. They've violated your boundary," said DiBlasio.

The group offered up some tips if you feel violated.

The Safety Team recommends that if you're uncomfortable, it's important to create a verbal boundary and a physical boundary of four to six feet. Although the group travels the state and beyond teaching women moves to protect themselves, they say the best way to stay safe is prevention.

DiBlasio advises, "Being aware and being alert to your surroundings. What I recommend people do is take a look at their daily life. Look at their routine and things that might make them vulnerable."

The group says they are currently fundraising and hope to expand their classes to teach college-aged women in Vermont. They say this demographic of women are the most preyed upon.

Visit The Safety Team's website for more information.


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