In the United States, where equality between the sexes is a goal, and where women are encouraged to speak directly by parents and teachers, we can easily forget that many are not healthy enough to tolerate open communication of this kind without feeling criticized, rejected and controlled; and this group may be likely to "snap." Further, those entering our homes may be carrying enormous anger and conflict within, and sometimes, even without realizing it, may need a scapegoat for their rage.
While a great deal has been written about safety measure on the streets, there has been far less warning and guidance about who enters our home, under what circumstances, and appropriate safety measures both before and after our home is entered. In the words of retired FBI agent Joe Navarro: "People spend more time determining which refrigerator they're going to buy than who they are going to allow into their home or even into their bedroom." Navarro's advice: "If a contractor arrives with his uniform askew, if he smells of alcohol, trust your instinct and turn him away...If there is something not quite right, turn him away." He further recommends to have a friend or family member present when work is being done, and if that is not possible, have someone telephone you. Plus, "always keep distance between you and the workman." ("Philadelphia Inquirer," January 27, 2013, pages B1 and B6)
Recommendations of professionals from friends and colleagues are always a wise approach. Contractors should assure their clients that an unknown sub-contractor would never be sent to a home. Clients should also know the name of the professional being sent, how many years he has been employed, and be assured that he has been vetted. No one asking for these protection measures should be treated impatiently or as a nuisance. Such an attitude immediately indicates that work should be routed elsewhere.
A front door should not be opened until the person can be viewed and identifying information (such as the order form or an identifying card) is held up. Again, always trust your instincts: If during the time of the service, you feel uncomfortable in any way, to quote Professor Elizabeth Dowdell, of the Villanova University College of Nursing, who studies victimology,, ..."get out. And be sure you've left an exit route." ("Philadelphia Inquirer," January 27, page B6)
Dr. Melissa Ketunuti had so much to offer and so much to live for. We can only hope that her violent, horrifying death can be a wake up call about a very sad reality: Trustworthy people often believe that others they meet and depend on will have their same reliability and character. Sadly, this is not always the case, and there are no short cuts to appropriate safety measures.