11 Safety Tips For The Serious Holiday Shopper

There’s 23 days until Christmas! While we all know that Christmas is really about celebrating Christ birth, it’s still nice to give gifts to our loved ones. Many of us will spend the next 23 days shopping and preparing for the holiday season. It’s important to be alert and safe while shopping. Here are some safety tips from

http://www.ou.edu/oupd/holtips.htm Sadly during the holiday season, any people are looking for ways to rob and scan others. This has always been the case but now that the economy is struggling, many people are having a hard time providing for their families and their desperate. I don’t want to cause people to walk in fear but please be aware and safe. Review this tips, pray God’s protection over you and your loved ones and be wise while out and about! Happy shopping and remember it’s better to give then to receive!

11 Shopping safety tips

1. Travel and conduct your business during daylight hours if possible.

2. When driving, keep doors locked and windows rolled up at all times. Maintain at least half a tank of fuel, and keep vehicle in good repair.

3. Keep a first aid kit in the car and know how to access your spare tire and jack.

4. Devote your full time and attention to driving!

5. Plan your shopping/errands so that you don’t load your trunk until you are ready to drive to another destination. Load your trunk when you leave a location – never open a trunk, fill it full of valuables, close it, and then just walk away to do more shopping or other errands.

6. When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter as quickly as possible. As you approach your vehicle, scan the area, glance underneath the vehicle, and take a quick look inside before entering.

7. While out and about, present an alert appearance. Be aware of your surroundings; scan the area from time to time. Avoid concentrating so hard on shopping that you fail to keep track of your surroundings, others near you, or your personal property.

8. If possible, leave your children with a baby-sitter while you are shopping. If you take your children with you, keep a close eye on them while shopping. Teach the children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they ever get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are.

9. Using debit or credit cards is much safer than carrying a lot of cash. Only keep enough cash on your for one day at a time. You don’t need hundreds of dollars in your wallet or purse.

10. If anyone is loitering, or you don’t like their looks, leave the ATM  Angle yourself in a way that those behind you cannot see your PIN as you enter it; your PIN should NEVER be written down on or carried with your ATM card.

11. Be prepared to flee potential problems. If apprehensive about any location for any reason, leave. Consider carrying a whistle. Weapons are not recommended, and may be unlawful. Try not to carry a purse when you have a full day of shopping or wear it in a way that it is secure on your person.


Single Moms, Dating & Protecting Their Children From Child Abuse

After watching Teen Mom on MTV yesterday, I wanted to publish a post regarding the importance of mother’s selecting appropriate men to be around their children. On Teen Mom, a single mother named Amber kicked her baby’s father out of the house, only to allow an ex con with no job, car or money, whom she met a Wal-Mart a few weeks before, to move into her home with her 2-year-old daughter. She allows the man to baby-sit her child, change her diaper and dress her. The child appears uneasy and uninterested in the boyfriend, though Amber tries to get the child to hug and play with him. After the episode I began to ask myself why some young mother’s continue to make such horrible decisions when it comes to dating and who is around their children.

As a social worker, I see countless cases every year where a young mother left her children alone with a boyfriend and the boyfriend repeatedly physically or sexually abused her children. The children eventually report the abuse to a friend, family member or teacher, CPS is called and the children are removed from their home. As mothers, we must make our children our top priority and protect them no matter what.

I googled this topic and found an awesome article explaining why mother’s often times find themselves making bad choices when it comes to men as well as an awesome campaign and resources to prevent child abuse. Please review the excerpts I posted below and click the links to read the articles in full.

Dr. Melva Green, a clinical psychiatrist, said the issue of child abuse by a mother’s companion is striking because it points to other issues. Green reports that it’s not an issue of good mother or bad mother but an issue of mother’s being out of touch. She also adds that it’s not a race issue but more about socio-economics. In some cases moms leaving the home to provide for a child’s physical needs, can’t afford childcare, and because their busy working to make ends meet they are unable to see the potential dangers. Green explained that there is also an emotional burden on the men which doesn’t justify the abuse but might help explain the increase in violence towards children. Some men left to care for the children become upset, “resentment plays itself out, and the child is the victim.”

New York’s Administration for Children Services noticed the trend and decided to take action of their own. Late this summer they kicked off a campaign entitled, “Be Careful Who Cares For Your Child.” The campaign includes radio ads from celebrities such as Darryl McDaniels from RUN DMC. Posters are being posted on New York City subways and throughout communities all across the city.

For mothers she advices, “Read that child. If a child is not able communicate but you see that when you’re about to leave them alone, they are more clingy than usual, more restless, any thing in excess, then they might not be comfortable being left alone with that person.” Green also cautions against a rush to judgment. She says that because mothers are told to trust their instincts and some don’t, it’s easy to blame mothers for their perceived ineptness. Instead she says it’s important to remember that those mothers may have been victimized at some point in their lives thus affecting a cycle. She believes advocating self-care of mothers in which they evaluate their emotional well-being and stress levels will help them take care of themselves, and in turn their children.


When choosing a caregiver, parents should select someone who:

  • Has experience caring for babies and young children
  • Is patient and mature enough to care for a fussy, overexcited or crying baby
  • Understands that young children must always be watched
  • Will never shake, hit, yell at, make fun of, or withhold food from a child as punishment
  • Does not abuse alcohol or drugs, or carry a weapon, and will not surround a child with others who may be drinking, using or selling drugs, or carrying weapons.

There are warning signs of a potentially dangerous caregiver include someone who is:

  • Angry or severely impatient when children have tantrums, cry or misbehave
  • Violent and/or controlling with their partners
  • Physically or verbally abusive with children
  • An abuser of alcohol and drugs, including marijuana
  • Using prescription medications that have bad side effects or make them drowsy, or  
  • Not trust worthy for any reason


  • The Parent Helpline at 800-342-7472 or visit www.preventchildabuseny.org
  • Safe Horizon Domestic Violence Hotline 800-621-HOPE (800-621-4673), TDD (Hearing Impaired) 866-604-5350
  • To Report child abuse and neglect call 800-342-3720 or 311


Restoration Week: But God Update

In four days, it will be the 10 year victory anniversary of the sexual assault that I survived. For the days leading up to the 9/4/10 celebration of the victory,  I will publish post about God’s restoration power.  Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. The devil thought he had me BUT GOD!!

Regarding the format of the book, originally I was composing a women’s testimony book and collecting testimonies surrounding several different topics. I thought that by collecting several different testimony topics, women all over the world could relate and be blessed. I promoted the books and requested testimony submissions and was blessed to collect 40 testimonies!!

Kim Brookes, author of several books including, He’s Fine But Is He Saved, blessed me to go to The Anointed Pen Seminar earlier this year. At the seminar I met many awesome, anointed, talented and wise authors, including Versandra Kennebrew, author of Thank God For The Shelter.  I signed up for Versandra to be my book coach and the rest is history! Kim and Versandra continued to encourage me to pray about narrowing down the topic of my book to make it organized and geared towards a more target audience. After praying and learning more about book writing and marketing, I have decided to focus my first testimony book on rape, attempted rape, incest and sexual abuse.

The purpose of the book will be to shed the light on the sexual assault epidemic. To educate, encourage and empower women. To let women know that they can and will get through the after effects of rape, incest or sexual abuse. To let women know how God sees them and that He is not to blame but He is there to heal and restore and rebuild. The book will be a Christian resource, self-help, and motivational book. Resources will be provided at the end of the book (websites, hotlines, books, healing ministries)

I want to explore stats, preventative steps and what to do if you or someone you know has been assaulted. I want to explore the importance of seeking counseling, medical and legal help if you have experienced any of the mention situations.

How you can help

Before the resource chapter, I want to include 5-10 short testimonies of women who have experienced, survived and overcome rape, attempted rape, incest or sexual abuse. 

If you are a rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse or incest survivor and would like to have your story in the book (all testimonies will be brief and anonymous) please contact me with regards to further details. I have a few ladies already who are willing to write on these difficult topics. More women than you all care to know have suffered in silence regarding these topics and I say no more!! I want to shine a light on the truth and bring healing and wholeness by introducing people to the ultimate healer and restorer, Jesus Christ!!

If you or someone you know would like to share their short testimony to stump on the devil’s head, give God ALL the glory and encourage other women, I ask that you email me at butgodbook@yahoo.com All testimonies that are selected will be published anonymously to protect the identities of the survivors. The deadline for submissions will be 9/25/10 but please contact me ASAP to let me know that you would like to be apart of the book. Please share this post with other women that may be interested as well.

I have written out my new plan of action and I am praying, writing and meeting with Versandra. She is one of my accountability partners throughout this journey. I will keep you all posted as I go alone. I am sorry for not being able to include all of the testimonies in this first book but I feel that the book will be more organized, focused and affective this way. As the Lord leads, I would like to use the other testimonies for future projects and I would of course seek the permission of the writers before doing anything with their testimonies.

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com


Signs of A Potential Rapist

There is not a particular look that a rapist will have but there are certain behaviors/characteristics that you should look out for. I do not want to place fear in women, I want to open their eyes, educate, empower and encourage them. Ladies please be safe. Seek God, pray and ask Him for guidance and protection regarding your day to day activities and your love life. Be wise, be aware and be safe. Below are warning signs that your date, boyfriend, fiance’ or husband maybe dangerous. Please do not ignore  or make excuses for the warning signs that your man is being abusive, aggressive or insensitive to your feelings, body or personal space. If your gut tells you to leave then get up and go, don’t question it. Your gut feeling is the Holy Spirit warning you. If you find yourself in danger, bring as much attention to yourself as you can and try to run and get away. To read the entire article and a detailed description of the list below, checkout the link that is posted at the bottom of this post.

Signs of A Potential Rapist

1) Insensitivity for others/emphasis on self

2) Belittling behavior or attitudes towards others

3) Negating behavior or comments

4) Hostile and/or threatening language

 5) Bullying

6) Excessive anger

7) Brooding/ revenge

8. Obsession

9) Extreme mood swings

10) Physical tantrums

11) Jock or gorilla mentality

12) A mean drunk

13) Alcohol or drug abuse

While there are others, these behaviors are serious indicators of a potential rapist. This short list should acquaint you with the basics. Not all men are rapists, but a person like this has a higher probability than others. You not only find these traits among rapists and abusers, but also professional criminals. Philosophically there is little difference between such, they are all selfish. Most often it is just a matter of degrees, style and choice of victims.



No Means No: Tips To Stay Safe On A Date

In the U.S date rape is committed every two minutes. Wikihow.com lists tips to stay safe and prevent date rape. Every woman needs to know how to have fun but stay safe and be wise while having a night on the town. Rape is never a woman’s fault, no matter what she wears or where she goes. No means no!! We as women need to have a plan and be alert when we are out alone in the community. Please review the tips below and keep them in mind the next time you are out on a date. For Christian women, always pray God’s protection over yourself before you go on a date and ALWAYS listen to the Holy Spirit and seek peace. If you don’t have peace in your spirit, don’t go. If you get a troubled feeling and your out, get up and go home or call someone to get you. Never second guess yourself.


  • Trust your instincts! If you feel uncomfortable in any way DO NOT TRY TO NORMALIZE IT! Tell your date you are sick and about to vomit, or get out of the situation some way. Never doubt your instincts or say you are misjudging him/her. Many look back and realize they had uncomfortable feelings before something bad happened.
  • Keep your wits about you- stay sober.
  • If all else fails drink water, or mix coke and sprite to look like a drink.
  • Go to parties with a sober friend or a designated observer who is not drinking, who can watch and protect you.
  • Always carry your own car keys to get away and use as weapons.
  • Bring emergency cash for a cab ride home and don’t spend it. You may need it for other situations, like being dumped on the roadside or something. If in a foreign country, always possess the name, front desk phone number and your hotel address, (but never your room number) written in a language the cabbie will know. Leave information about where you’ll be, with whom, and when you should return to your room- and how someone might find you.
  • Be cautious of large punch bowls or drinks served by others as drugs are easily slipped into them.
  • Open your drinks yourself, and don’t share drinks.
  • If they have any sexually oriented items that make you feel uncomfortable, don’t say anything. Just get out of there!
  • Don’t go out with strangers.
  • Call your parents if you are stranded somewhere- or a friend who will help. What’s the worst thing you parents can do compared to being raped, killed, or any other unfortunate things? Never feel that you can’t call a parent or a close friend.
  • Place several people that love you and would answer and respond to your calls on speed dial. Then, if you are ever in a compromising situation, just hit one number and call without anyone knowing.
  • If the worst should happen, get to the nearest emergency room immediately. Do not bathe, change your clothes or wait until morning. This could compromise or destroy evidence that you were raped and make it much more difficult for the authorities to build a case against your assailant. Physical evidence is your greatest weapon against the person who hurt you.
  • Do not wait to tell someone what happened to you. Do so immediately. It can be extremely painful to recount the incident so soon after it happened, but the longer you wait, the greater the danger of it becoming a “he said/she said” situation, especially if your assailant is famous or well-respected in the community.


  • If he/she starts touching tell them forcefully to stop and walk away, preferrably to a place where people are.
  • Always stay alert and aware of your situation.
  • In some cultures, Western women are perceived as “easy.” This creates many problems for traveling women, like an unexpected danger because you may not have done anything that you perceive as provocative. To be safe, NEVER ASSUME THAT THERE IS A NON-SEXUAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN- no matter what age- AND ACT ACCORDINGLY. In many cultures, men and women are never casual, asexual friends and if you assume there is a sexual undercurrent (even if it is the last thing you’d imagine) prepare to protect yourself.
  • If in a group, look out for each other and don’t let group members wander off alone or with someone unknown to the group.
  • If the offender/rapist is trying to touch or assault you, put your hand in front of you and recite “STOP IT” or kick them in their groin. Never throw a punch unless necessary, it may give easy access to assault you even more.

To read more of this article and review 17 tips on how to prevent date rape go to http://www.wikihow.com/Prevent-Date-Rape 
From National Studies Of College Women 
* 84% of women who were raped knew their assailants. 
* 57% of rapes occurred on a date. 
* 25% of men surveyed believed that rape was acceptable if: the women asks the man out; if the man pays for the date, or the woman goes back to the man’s room after the date. 
* 33% of males surveyed said they would commit rape if they definitely could escape detection. 
* 84% of male students who had committed acts that clearly met the legal definition of rape said what they had done was definitely not rape. 
* 75% of male and 55% of female students in an occurrence of date rape had been drinking or using drugs. 
* Only a quarter to a third of women whose sexual assaults met the legal definition of rape considered themselves rape victims.


Remove The Mask and Break The Silence

Behind each human face is a hidden world that no one can see. We cannot continue to seek outside ourselves for the things we need from within.The demons will haunt us if we remain afraid. Silence is one of the great victims of modern culture. -John O’Donohue

1 in 3 women have been raped. 1 in 4 girls have been sexually abused. With stats this high, it is clear that the many women and children are hurting. Many of us have gone through hurtful things at the hands of a man that we trusted, whether that is our father, brother, uncle, cousin, teacher, boss, boyfriend, neighbor or husband. Please know that what happened to you was not your fault. No matter how a woman dresses, where she goes, what she says or doesn’t say, NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO VIOLATE HER. What you have the right to do now is to BREAK FREE!! Don’t waste another day walking around in silence and shame. PLEASE tell someone, a trusted friend, your parents, your pastor, counselor, social worker, your partner, someone. 

If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, incest, rape or attempted rape, I can’t express enough the importance of you seeking help and breaking free of the pain, shame, depression, fear, anger and many other emotions you may feel. The mask that you wear may protect you from those around you knowing, but it’s not healing your past pain, it’s actually killing you softly. I hid in silence and didn’t tell anyone about the rape for two years. Those two years were filled with confusion, anger, shame, low self esteem and fear. I wish that I knew then what I know now. I wish someone had educated me on what rape was and what to do if it ever happened to me. Back in 2000 I was ignorant to those things and therefore didn’t know how to protect myself or recover after the fact. My mission now is to educate, empower and encourage females in the areas of rape, abuse, relationships, sex and self esteem/worth.

Please, I urge you to break the silence today. Pray and ask God who you should disclose your past pain and experiences too. Research local counseling agencies or rape crisis centers or hotlines in your area. The first step is to admit to yourself that you’ve been abused, the second step is share the abuse with someone else that you trust and the third step is to decide on what type of support or treatment you need. Please don’t believe that the pain will just go away on it’s on over time. Time does not heal wounds, Jesus does! He already took our pain on the cross when He died on Calvary and rise from the dead for our sins. We don’t have to carry our own burdens! 

After I told my campus minister about the rape, she encouraged me to seek counseling, which I did right away. I was scared but I knew that I needed help, so I went. I did cancel my first appointment and then cried the whole way to my second appointment but I went! It was one of the best decisions that I had ever made!  My counselor encouraged me to tell my parents. When I told my parents I felt so much better. I was no longer alone, they knew, they still loved me, supported me and prayed over me. I can’t stress enough the importance of breaking the silence and seeking help and support. Trust me, it will be the best decision you have ever made. Email me at butgodbook@yahoo.com is you need assistance locating resources or a counselor in your area. 

  Psalm 55:22 (New International Version) 

 22 Cast your cares on the LORD
       and he will sustain you;
       he will never let the righteous fall. 

Psalm 147:3 (King James Version) 

 3He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

If you enjoyed this blog post, I encourage you to subscribe to receive emails regarding future post. The subscribe button is located at the top left corner of the blog. Once you enter your email and hit “sign me up,” you will have to open your email and confirm the subscription. Thank you in advance for your support. Also please email the blog link to other ladies https://joannawillis.wordpress.com


Rape Protective Measures: Be Alert, Be Aware and Be Wise

Rape Protective Measures 


Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.  


There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds a year. Take 31,536,000 and divide it by 248,300 and it comes out to 1 sexual assault every 127 seconds or about 1 every 2 minutes (this information was taken from (http://rainn.org)

1 out of every 3 women have been raped. I am a rape survivor and unfortunately I know over forty other women who have suffered rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse or incest. I want to educate, encourage and empower women on what to do to assist them with being safe in their communities and what to do if they experience attempted rape or rape. I know this is a tough topic and it makes people uncomfortable BUT ignoring the issue won’t make it go away.   

When I was assaulted, I was in shock and had not clue what to do to fight off my classmate or what to do after I got away. Before the rape I was ignorant regarding the daily safety measures that I could take to keep myself safe from potential danger. Please ladies don’t walk around blind and ignorant. Read this information and utilize whatever info in it is useful to you. 



In NO WAY am I trying to: 


*Plant fear in women’s heads.  


*Am I suggesting that every women will be a victim of rape *Am I saying rape is 100% preventable. Rape is never the victims fault. No matter what you wear, where you go, or what you say, no one has the right to victimize you.   

We are to walk in wisdom, peace and protection by the blood of Jesus. There are things we as women should know and do to keep ourselves aware and safe. Please read this article and educate yourself. It is a secular article but majority of the info I found to be very helpful.   

This pamphlet on rape protective measures was prepared by Dean of Students Office for Women’s Resources and Services McKinley Health Education Dept. University Police and the University of Illinois. 


Rape is a violent crime, an invasion, a frightening experience.  


Rape affects all women, no matter what their age, race or economic status. All women are potential victims of sexual assault.   

By being aware, a woman can reduce the likelihood of becoming a rape victim. This does not mean all rapes can be prevented.   

Rapists commit rape — NOT VICTIMS.   

Psychological Preparedness   

1. Accept the fact that you are a potential rape victim. Many women operate under the. illusion “it will never happen to me. It may. 


2. Educate yourself concerning rape prevention tactics.  


3. Become familiar with community rape prevention and counseling. 


4. Become aware of locations and situations where rape is more likely to occur and avoid them, or take precautions.  


In a Dating/Friend Situation  

ask the person to leave. Don’t worry about hurt feelings. assertively1. The majority of rapes that occur are termed “acquaintance rapes” – the rapist and victim know one another. Trust your feelings. If you become uncomfortable in a situation, 






2. If possible, let a friend or roommate know who you are with and where you will be. Leave an address and phone number when possible.       





In Your Car   
1. Keep windows and doors locked.        


2. If you should be followed into your driveway, stay in your car with the doors locked. Sound horn to get the attention of neighbors or scare the other driver off.        


3. When parking at night, select a place that will be well-lit when returning to the car.      


4. Always make sure the car is locked, and have the keys ready when returning to the car.           

 5. Check interior of car before getting in.            

 On the Street  

1. Be observant of things around you. If someone is following you, go to the nearest house or store.           

2. Walk near the curb and avoid passing close to shrubbery, dark doorways and other places of concealment.           




4. Avoid short cuts through parking lots and alleys.         

5. Walk with a friend if at all possible. Don’t walk alone.          

6. If a car approaches you and you feel threatened, scream and run in the direction opposite of the one the car is going.    


7. When arriving home by taxi or private auto, ask the driver to wait until you are inside.         


8. Don’t jog in secluded areas.           


9. Know the location of the special emergency phones campus.      


In Your Home     

1. The best lock cannot function if you fail to lock it. Be sure to keep your doors locked.          

2. All windows should have secure locks and frames.         


3. All entrances and garages should be well-lit.       


4. Never open the door after a knock. Require the person to give their name. In the case of service persons ask for proper I.D. and refuse entrance if you feel uneasy.        


If You Are Sexually Assaulted   



The best resistance you can use against an attacker is your common sense. Think! Don’t panic. The most important element to remember is that you are not trying to fight the attacker, but are attempting to divert the person long enough to get away. Always look for a way to escape.         


If the attacker has a weapon, use your common sense.          

Fighting against it could be dangerous.      

1. Stay calm. Do not do anything that may upset the attacker.      
 2. Try to convince the person to put the weapon down.       

3. Talk to your attacker, show sympathy and understanding.          

4. Make the attacker see you as an individual, not as an object.          

 If the attacker is unarmed, you may be able to scare, distract or injure the person enough to make your escape. 

1. Scream “FIRE,” “POLICE,” or create a disturbance that will attract attention.            

2. Assert yourself and fight back if you can do so safely.            

3. Break away and run toward areas with people.          

4. Be observant so that you will be able to remember and identify the assailant.       


5. Report the incident to the police as soon as possible.        



Checklist for Victims of Sexual Assault   



 You may want to call the Rape Crisis Line () for instructions and support.         

 1. Report the crime immediately to the police.           


 2. Do not shower, douche, or change clothing.         



3. Have a medical exam and internal gynecological exam as soon as possible. A delay in time may destroy evidence.       


a) Semen smears must be taken by a clinician.        





 b) Inform clinician of exact acts committed upon you and have the clinician note any medical evidence of them.        



  c) Clinician should note any bruises or injuries bleeding, lacerations, etc.) external or internal.          







d) Have clinician test for venereal diseases (and pregnancy later, if relevant).         


4. Do not disturb the scene of the assault.          


5. Inform police of all details of attack, however intimate, and of anything unusual you may have noted about the attacker. Remember what the person said and how it was said. It may lead to the arrest of the assailant.           


6. Show police any external bruises or injuries, however minor, resulting from the attack.            


7. Police may request your clothes for purpose of evidence.             

8. Inform the police if you remember anything that was not previously reported.