“I’m an alumna of Pepperdine University, a school which proudly owns a
house/campus on Exhibition Road, literally across the street from the
Imperial University, in the middle of South Kensington, right near
Harrods, Hyde Park, the Albert Hall. Within two days of arriving for our
first semester in London, our relatively small [American] class (37
students, 10 men, 27 women) was visited by a local police officer to
instruct us on living in London. Her first question was to the women,
’How many of you brought mace?’ Three girls raised their hands. She told
us we couldn’t use it, shouldn’t even carry it, it was illegal.
“Had any of us brought any other type of weapon, such as a knife?
Several of the men in our group indicated that they carried pocket
knives. She told us to leave them at home too.
“Then she instructed us on how to properly be a victim. If we were
attacked, we were to assume a defensive posture, such as raising our
hands to block an attack. The reason was (and she spelled it out in no
uncertain terms) that if a witness saw the incident and we were to
attempt to defend ourselves by fighting back, the witness would be
unable to tell who the agressor was. However, if we rolled up in a ball,
it would be quite clear who the victim was.
“The feeling I got was, in London, it is not permissable to defend
oneself. I also understood that this police officer thought Americans
were more likely to be agressive and/or cause more damage to a potential
attacker. She was warning us for our own good. I have to admit, she did
not make me feel particularly safe.”