'Special Agent Mom' teaches sexual assault prevention


Heather Ryan is a mom of two who just happens to be a former NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Services) agent.

“Like the TV show but not as cool,” Ryan said. “I had my kiddos and married another agent and we decided to take a huge leap of faith and I took an early retirement, turned in my badge and gun and started my company, Safe in the City. I now travel the country talking on college campuses, communities and corporations giving them insight into the criminal mind to give them ways to feel safe and not fearful.”

“To counter the rape culture that we’ve all grown up with I think the most important thing we can do is to start at home,” Ryan said. “So when we teach our little girls at a very young age they respect themselves they respect their bodies. We also teach our little boys the same thing they respect their bodies AND others, and their sisters and their friends that’s the root in my opinion and that’s how we make the change.”

“The kids who haven’t been taught that when they go to college are now mingling with the group of kids that have been taught that and by virtue of peer pressure they are now conforming to the idea that, ‘Oh, I do report sexual assault.’ I see this as a real positive we’re having this conversation which is fantastic cause when we stop stuffing things under the rug that can be the real catalyst for change.”

“In younger relationships, when you start seeing obsessions, ‘I don’t want you to go anywhere without me.’ They’re always, always, always together. She stops going out with girlfriends, she stops going to football games, all of these are huge indicators for somebody who is eventually going to be possessive.”

“Eventually she doesn’t want to be around him all the time and she starts pulling away a little bit -- this is where you’re going to see some danger zones. If left unchecked that type of behavior is going to slowly go into a more controlling situation. If you have somebody come to you and voice a concern, you need to listen. This is a huge red warning sign. Listen to what you’re hearing but also listen to yourself. I talk about listening to your intuition to stay safe and keep others safe. Sometimes your intuition or gut feeling or hair on the back of your neck might not make sense to you. This is your child you must talk to him or her about these feelings and why you're having them. When you do that it teaches your child to also do that. When you listen to your intuition or gut by identifying that and honoring that feeling you're teaching your child that’s what we do in this family we honor our feelings and our intuition and we talk about it.”

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