Getting through a kidnapping is a harrowing ordeal, one that puts you at the complete and utter mercy of your captures. Unfortunately, abductions and kidnapping are a common thing even in our society today, and it’s done for a wide variety of different reasons.
From financial gains to the depraved nature of some people, if you’re unlucky enough to be taken there is generally a reason for it. For the vast majority of kidnappings they are a business transaction, done simply as a way to bring in extra income in countries that are notoriously poor. Although if you’ve fallen into the hands of someone who is simply deranged, it’s unlikely they will let you live once they are done. You need to do everything you can to escape and survive your kidnapping, keep reading and I’ll explain how you can safely see it through to the other side.
Don’t become a target
The best way to survive a kidnapping is to avoid being targeted in the first place. The last thing you want to do is paint a target on your back, so avoid any overt signs of wealth that gives the impression you’ve got something worth stealing. Fancy watches, expensive sunglasses, designer clothes, all this kind of stuff demonstrates to anyone looking that you’re likely going to have a higher-than-normal level of income, and that you would potentially make a good score if you were kidnapped and held ransom.
This is especially true in certain countries where the cost of lives are extremely low. One harrowing story that always stuck with me was an American businessman in Lagos, who refused to wind the window in his car up so he could smoke. Thieves grabbed his arm and chopped his hand off with a machete to relieve him of his Rolex. The perfect example of this in action, and why you need to take steps to ensure you never become a target.
Pay attention in high-risk areas
Of course, there’s a time and a place to dress nice, and there’s also certain areas of the city that you just shouldn’t go. When it comes to kidnappings, entire cities and even countries can have higher than normal levels of this type of crime, so pay attention. Don’t wander about aimlessly and alone, don’t flaunt the wealth you do have, and if anything looks out of the ordinary, get yourself out of there as fast as possible.
Many kidnappings happen in the middle of the day, in crowded places, so your best bet is to run at the first sign of trouble. Even if you just get a weird feeling you’re being followed, remember your “gut instinct” is the result of a lifetime’s worth of survival instincts. If something feels wrong, get yourself out of there as fast as possible.
Fight back with everything
Your best chances of surviving a kidnapping are in the first few seconds when it all goes down. It’s likely you’re in a public place, and you’ve yet to be restrained so fight back with everything you’ve got. If you’re carrying pepper spray, a strikelight or any other defensive weapon, grab it and put up the fight of your life. Your attackers may have a knife or gun on you which is a frightening thing, but you do have a level of safety in a crowd.
Once they get you to a remote, secondary location you will truly be at the whims of your kidnapper. It might all work out, but then again, it might not. I’d certainly try to fight back first, and create such a scene that your attacker backs down and flees. You want to make it as difficult as possible to be abducted, so they give up for an easier target.
Carry the tools you need
Now I know you’ve likely already got your every-day-carry with you, but in a kidnapping, you can expect this will be the first thing your captors will take. So it’s up to you to have additional tools and weapons that are concealed and out of sight. You will be searched, and whatever they find will be taken, so get creative here in hiding a few key survival tools if you’re in a place where kidnapping is indeed a threat.
I’ve seen everything from handcuff keys sewn into hiking boots, to wire saws threaded into the lining of pants in attempts to keep these critical tools concealed, and perhaps give you the upper hand to get free of your restraints, fight back against your captors and escape.
Make your move to escape
If you’ve been taken and the kidnappers are in control, you may still find that an opportunity to escape presents itself. While you’re still in the city you may be able to flee the car, or break out of whatever temporary restraints they’ve got you tied with and make your move. The longer you’re in the captivity of your kidnappers, the harder it will get to escape.
You’ll be searched and stripped, deprived of food and water so your fitness will drop, and once they get you to the place they are intending to keep you captive long term it’s likely going to be all over. Make your move to escape as soon as the opportunity presents, and put all your effort into getting out of there. It may be your one shot at freedom.
Seek to create sympathy
Once you’re in the hands of your captors and escape isn’t an option, you want to avoid becoming too much of a thorn in their side. It’s likely this is a business transaction, and if the deal goes sour or they decide the risk is no longer worth it, it’s your life that’s on the line. Don’t do anything to antagonize your captors that isn’t necessary, but also take the time to humanize yourself. You could be facing a long period of time locked up with these people, and you want to establish a kind of two-way respect. The more they can sympathize with you, the less likely they will subject you to any unfair abuse.
Even though it’s not as common in the United States as some other countries in South America, I believe you can never be too careful when it comes to the safety of you and your family. Knowing how to escape a kidnapping is a critical survival skill.