Forensic Psychology Student Describes The Two Types Of Women Predators Most Often Target Based On The Way They Walk

In an ideal world, women would never have to worry about the way we walk.

Woman walking across the street Josep Suria / Shutterstock

The patriarchal structure of society means that women face daily danger just by virtue of being a woman alive in the world. 

Ask any woman to describe a scenario in which they felt unsafe, and you’ll hear story after story of women confronted with potential violence while completing basic tasks like walking home or taking the train.

While the threat of violence often feels overwhelming and too large for any one person to tackle, women have always created networks to share information on how to stay safe — and TikTok is no different.


A forensic psychology student described the two types of women predators target most often based on the way they walk. 

Alex is a forensic psychology student who revealed that one of her passions is “using my education to share information and tips to help you stay safe.” Though her original video has since been deleted, other accounts on TikTok have reposted her informative video.

RELATED: Women Were Asked If They’d Rather Be Stuck In A Forest With A Man Or A Bear — And Their Answers Are Sad


Alex posed the following question: “What if I told you that the way you walk could determine whether or not you’re more likely to be the target of a predator?”

She shared a disclaimer at the start of her post, saying, “I will be specifically addressing women in this video; however, any information in this video can be beneficial to anyone.”

She referenced a research study that looked at incarcerated men convicted of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, assault, murder, and rape. These men were shown videos of different women and then asked to indicate which women they would be most likely to choose as a target. 

“Now, the results of the study may surprise you,” Alex said. “They contradict a lot of the typical information that you hear regarding victim typologies and how a predator chooses their victims.”


“Out of all of the women shown in the videos, only a select few were unanimously chosen by the incarcerated males,” she continued. “You may be thinking that these women were chosen because of something to do with their physical appearance, such as their body size — if they were small and petite — certain hair color, or a certain overall physical appearance, but that actually isn’t the case.”

Alex revealed that the way a woman walks sends a clear message to a potential attacker.

“What the selected women all had in common was the way that they walked and how they generally held themselves in public,” she revealed. 

“The selected women all had a similar awkwardness to the way that they walked and carried themselves," she continued. These women "had a gait that was a little too small for their body, which resulted in smaller steps, slower speed, and their arms more typically to their side or crossed, as well as their heads being down, and not really taking in their general surroundings.”

Woman walking with small gait and arms crossed Zamrznuti tonovi / Shutterstock


This particular stride indicated three different things to potential attackers.

First, it signaled that the women were “a lot more fearful and anxious and because their heads were down, instead of looking at their general surroundings, they would be a lot easier to surprise.”

The second signal was that the women were “generally weaker than other potential victims. It gave them the indication that they may be ill, injured, or just generally more fragile than other women and easier to subdue.”

The third signal was because the women had their arms close to their bodies or crossed, it seemed easier for an attacker to come up behind them and wrap their arms around them with less resistance.”


But it's not just those with a small gait who are at risk. “The other part of the women that were selected had a gait that seemed a bit too big for their body, and their arms tended to flail to the sides and seem just overly awkward,” she explained. “This signaled to the men two things: That they were probably more clumsy and had less coordination than other potential victims.”

RELATED: A Stranger Grabbed A Woman In A Park & Found Out The Hard Way He Made A Huge Mistake

Alex then revealed the walks of women who weren’t chosen as potential victims by violent predators.

“The women who were not selected walked with a gait that tended to be more natural to their body and as far as pace goes," she said. "They kept the same pace as everyone else in the immediate area.” 

“They also tended to walk with their shoulders back and their chins up, and they looked around at their surroundings and asserted more of a general confidence,” she added. “Essentially, the women that were not selected gave off an energy that said, ‘Don’t mess with me, I will put up a good fight,’ and that’s why they weren’t selected.”


Confident woman walking with head up and shoulders back G.MARTYSHEVA / Shutterstock

“I know that it sounds silly that something as simple as the way you walk or the way you carry yourself in public could determine the likelihood that you become a target of a predator,” Alex continued. “But because we have this study, we know that it’s a possibility.”

Alex then shared a protective measure called 'The STAAR method.'

The “S” stands for stride: “Walk with a stride that is natural to your body, not too far apart and not too short.”


“T” is for tall: “Stand tall; keep your shoulders back and your chin up. Assert a natural confidence and dominance to those around you.”

“The first ‘A’ stands for arms,” she explained. “Make sure that your arms are swinging naturally by your sides and avoid keeping your arms too close to your body or flailing out of your natural range of motion.”

The second "A" stands for awareness. “Stay aware of your surroundings. Take notice if something feels or looks off," she advised.

And lastly, "R" stands for relax. Stay cool, calm, and collected, and do not give off any indication that you feel or see something wrong. 

@loveblingsting It only takes 7 seconds for an attacker to choose their target…here is how to avoid being an easy pick by using the STAAR method #safety #selfdefense #education #safetyeducation #greenscreen #nbcnews #stevekardian #safetytips #womenssafety #personalsafety #facts ♬ Show Me How - Men I Trust

While it’s somehow easier to imagine that most women are attacked at random and targeted by strangers, the reality is that most violent encounters against women come from a person whom they know.

Most violence against women is intimate partner violence. 


According to the World Health Organization, 30% of women around the world have been subjected to physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence throughout their lives. As many as 38% of murders worldwide are committed by intimate partners. 

Twenty-seven percent of women ages 15 to 49 reported being subjected to some kind of physical and/or sexual violence from a partner. 


In an ideal world, women wouldn’t be responsible for their own safety. We wouldn’t have to think about the way we walk or hold our chins or shoulders when we’re out in public.

Yet we are far from an ideal world, and in reality, we are the ones who will save ourselves and each other over and over again. 

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, harassment, or violence, you are not alone. Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at RAINN.

RELATED: Man Tells Women To ‘Stay In The Damn House’ To Avoid Crimes Happening To Them

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers social issues, pop culture analysis, and all things to do with the entertainment industry.