Dawn: Assault a sobering lesson on staying alert

PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - After nearly having her handbag snatched, ex-beauty queen Dawn Jeremiah has learned a sobering lesson about protecting herself.

She said she had not actually been paying full attention to her surroundings.

"I always thought I was an alert person, but I'm not, actually. What happened has certainly opened my eyes," she said, referring to the incident at a shopping mall in Mutiara Damansara on Monday night.

Dawn, who wrote about her traumatic ordeal on Facebook, said she had been lulled into a false sense of security when walking with a friend to the car park at another shopping mall across the street.

"I usually never fiddle with my phone while walking. But because I was with my friend, I thought I could do it," she said, adding that was when the assailant struck.

She said another lesson learned was to always have safety in numbers, adding that she believed the assailant might have tried to make another grab if she had been alone.

Dawn's Facebook posting, the latest amongst victims who have posted their ordeals on the social networking site, went viral and was shared over 2,000 times.

She has lodged a police report and said she would write a formal letter to the management of both shopping malls.

Kuala Lumpur deputy CID chief Asst Comm Khairi Ahrasa said those who lodged reports but received no follow-up could make a formal complaint.

"Those who lodge reports have a right to know the progress of their case," he said.

Practical self-defence specialist R. Shamir advised women to park their cars in reverse be it in shopping mall car parks or their home porches.

"This is so you can see who might be following you," he said, stressing that victims should always try and run away instead of fighting back.

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