We hear more and more stories everyday about women being attacked; almost 2.5 million women are victimized in personal crimes each year, and very recently the World Health Organization has described violence against women as reaching ‘epidemic proportions.’ This widespread problem certainly does not mean we should live in fear, but it does mean that women can not afford to be reactive about their personal safety and protection. Statistically, a woman’s odds of surviving an attack are much greater if she fights back but women often lack confidence about fighting because they haven’t been professionally trained. It’s important for women to know that we have the basic human right to be safe, and that you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself. The good news is, you don’t have to master complex techniques or have years of martial arts training to be able to do that. Enrolling in a good women’s self-defense program can build your confidence and give you the assurance to know – that YOU ARE ABLE to do a number of things if attacked.
Your Best Protection
When most women hear the term self-defense they automatically think of learning how to land a solid kick to the groin. While learning some basic kicks and strikes is a component of self-defense, it’s not the most important. The first and most important component of self-defense begins long before there is ever any physical contact; it’ awareness. We know the bad guys are out there studying women and choosing their victims. But, they also want it to be easy. They’d prefer not to have too much of a challenge, so they are looking for telltale signs of weakness and are much more likely to choose a woman who appears unaware of what is going on around her, than a woman who appears confident and alert. So just knowing who and what is around you at all times, is one of the best ways to protect yourself and avoid physical contact altogether.
It’s important to stress that if faced with an attacker your ultimate goal is not to win a fight; your ultimate goal is to get away to safety; to be the survivor. So to that end, I want to stress running, as one of the best self-defense techniques out there. Having some non-lethal self-defense weapons on hand like pepper spray, is always a good idea. But women were born with some natural, innate defense mechanisms that we’ve been socialized, as good little girls, not to use. And yes in polite civilization we wouldn’t dare bite, scratch, or poke someone in the eye. But I submit to you that there is nothing polite or civil when it comes to being attacked or defending yourself. So biting, scratching, a poke in the eye, everything goes when it comes to protecting yourself and your family. Plus, these are all techniques that can catch an attacker off guard, perhaps momentarily throw him off guard and present you with an opportunity to escape to safety.
Tips For College Women
Students will soon be heading back to school and violence against women on college campuses – this is a huge concern. Research suggests 1 in 4 college women today, that’s 25%, have been victim of rape or sexual assault. Because these attacks are so grossly underreported, we can be pretty sure the actual numbers are even higher than that. So I encourage young women to establish some non-negotiable ground rules for your personal safety and protection:
- Avoid walking on campus alone at night. Becoming comfortable with your campus surroundings can give you a false sense of security. Walking alone at night from the from the library, work, class or the gym only increase your chances of being the target of an attack.
- Understand that awareness is your best defense so you must be alert and observant at all times. This means no dual ear buds in your ears; it is imperative you are able to hear what’s going on around you, and no texting while walking; your head and eyes should be up and scanning the environment.
- Remember to walk with confidence. You want to exude an air that says to anyone who may ne watching, that you would be extremely difficult to get.
- Always trust your instincts. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s NOT right, so get the heck out of there!!
Practicing simple habits such as these can greatly reduce your chances of being the target of an attack. And please ladies, report any incidence of violence that you see or experience to your campus safety immediately.