Self defense and personal safety for women

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Crime can happen to anyone at any time, and in today’s world, a woman should be prepared for just about anything. Statistics show that a 21-year-old woman has a 25 percent risk of experiencing a violent crime in her lifetime.

Most crime experts agree that the best defense is a good offense, so when we think ahead, our chances of surviving or even avoiding a possible attack are much greater. Arming ourselves with knowledge and options can make a huge difference between getting away or the situation getting much worse.

No reason to reason
A person who has you pinned against a wall or is holding a knife to your throat is not a rational person, so why should you try to reason with them? As much as we would like to believe that an attacker might feel sorry for us or instantly feel regret, criminals don’t think the way normal people think. Trying to talk them out of hurting us usually doesn’t work.
Often, our voice can save us in a critical situation. Criminals certainly don’t want noise when they’re committing a crime, and calling attention to the situation could make that person stop what they’re doing. Taking a deep breath, shouting, screaming and making a racket is a good start.

Screaming isn’t everything
As helpful as yelling might be, screaming for someone else to save the day isn’t the answer either. In a very forceful attack, we have about five seconds to act. That means striking to injure the person, so they stop or we can run away. Experts also tell us not to hesitate. Make a move like it’s your last. Now is not the time for civility.

Hit to injure, not to cause pain
Hitting someone bigger than you in the stomach will probably make them mad, not hurt, but throwing an elbow to break their nose may buy you some time. You might have only one shot, so make it your best. Aim for the parts of the body where you can do the most damage easily: the nose, eyes, ears, neck, groin and knees.

Stand your ground
Ask a professional athlete or coach and they will tell you our bodies are a lot more effective and powerful moving forward rather than backward. It may seem logical to back away, but moving forward with all the force you can muster will project momentum into your strike and onto your target.

For our daughters, granddaughters and nieces
A large and looming college campus can be unpredictable and scary. It’s a good idea for female students to take a self-defense class every year before they get back to the books. Unfortunately, self-defense tactics are more often needed when in an encounter with someone we know rather than a total stranger. In most cases, awareness is vital to staying protected.
• Keep drinking to a minimum. More than half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol.
• Watch your drinks. Keep your drink with you at all times and never drink alcohol given to you by someone else or from a communal source such as a punchbowl or large container.
• Listen to your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
• Keep keys in your hand and ready to unlock doors.
• Keep the cell phone ready, but keep your nose out of it. Attackers are looking for someone who isn’t paying attention.
• Travel in groups of friends you trust. Make sure you all get home safely.
• Most schools have emergency phone stations located throughout the campus. Know where they are located.
• Get a grip on peripheral vision. We know what is happening straight ahead, but knowing what is going on out of the corner of your eye is necessary too.

The best defense
Prevention is the best defense to a possible attack. Don’t be an easy target. Be aware of your surroundings, walk with confidence and look out for anything out of the ordinary. And it is worth noting twice; have your phone out, but don’t be so involved with it that someone can take advantage of you.

Check out a self-defense course
A self-defense course may not always save us, but it can educate and give options to help us feel safer. Good self-defense programs do not tell a woman what she “should” or “should not” do but offer knowledge, preparation, defense technique and a means of analyzing situations. Look for programs that offer many options, since no dangerous situation is ever the same. Circumstances, criminals and victims are all different, but being prepared for the worst is our best bet for survival.
No matter what the social perception may be, women do not ask for, cause, invite or deserve any type of assault. Attackers are responsible for their attacks on others, so it is appropriate that they get what they deserve in an attempted assault. Be prepared. HLM

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