Women incur the violence in nine out of ten cases of violence. One out of every three women report sexual or physical abuse in their lifetime, and these are the ones reported.
Women are seen as an easy target to a male attacker. This should not be the case, as women can protect themselves from attack and rape. To accomplish this the woman must be proactive and get the tools and training she needs. We should be able, as a society, to reduce the victims to an equal ratio of men vs. women. Size and strength is a factor, but does not eliminate the ability of a woman to defend herself.
Attacks come in three primary areas of life. The first is violence at home between domestic partners, family members or intruders. The second instance is at school especially for college students that are away on campus. Finally the boldest is being attacked in public, such as streets, alleys and parking lots. This does not preclude attacks that can happen at work or in secluded places. We will focus on the three main areas, and techniques in these areas can be used in other circumstances.
Whether you are married, in a relationship or living with a relative, domestic abuse is real and it can happen to you. Twenty percentage of women in a serious relationship report being slapped or hit, and Thirty percent report that they are worried about their safety in their relationship at home. It is not just being in the wrong marriage with the wrong person. A spouse or family member living with you can have a devastating experience, as in a job loss or auto accident. Feeling safe from prying eyes and intervention, this person may take out their frustration on their spouse or relative in their own home. Intruders may enter your home and if confronted, may attack. If not confronted most intruders will try to escape and run, but if confronted and fear being identified, may attack, rape or murder the home owner.
College is a great experience for a young adult when properly prepared for the experience. Isolated from home, hormones raging, access to drugs or alcohol all contribute to some devastating statistics at college. One out of every four women will be sexually assaulted at college and one out of eight will be raped. One-half of rapes in college occur while on a date. This helps explain why nine out of ten women know their rapist. During date rapes three out of four men and one out of every two women were involved with drugs or had been drinking.
People who incur violence or assault in public are usually desperate or intoxicated with drugs and or alcohol. These are people who are oblivious to the fact they can be seen or identified. Usually these attacks occur near areas where the economy is very bad or alcohol and drugs are readily available, such as slums or low-class bars. In most of these cases the attacker and the victim do not know each other. With a little thought and preparation these areas can be avoided, especially at night. If your job or some other reason dictates you must be in these areas, there are ways to protect yourself.
First you must carry yourself in a positive manner, with you head held high and eyes forward. Talk in a direct and assertive manner and do not get into a back and forth discussion. Always carry your cell-phone and be prepared to dial 911 immediately. Making your phone visible will tell a potential attacker of your intention. Walk with a brisk pace going directly to your destination, do not let yourself get sidetracked. Always try to go to unfamiliar and potentially unsafe areas during late morning to early afternoon, when there will be more people present and plenty of light. If attacked and you have no defensive weapons, scream, yell and fight dirty by kicking your assailant in the shins or groin. The minute your assailant backs off, run for your car or the police. Use your cell-phone for help.
Entering your home you need two things ready; you’re keys and your cell phone. After entering or if prior to entering you suspect an intruder in your home, don’t enter or leave immediately. Do not try to find and identify the intruder and remember that whatever is in your home can be replaced, but your life cannot. Call 911 and get in your car, lock the doors and move away from your house. Do not unlock your car or talk with anyone until the police arrive.
When shopping for groceries many people load themselves down with packages and maybe have a child. Use shopping carts and keep your hands free to open doors and use your cell phone. Attackers look for over-burdened women as easy targets. When loading your car, put your child in first and then put yourself between the car and shopping cart. If possible travel with a friend or spouse, and this applies to all instances. Use the buddy system and share tasks so one person always has a free hand and access to a cell phone. Do not ever leave your car unlocked and if approaching your car it appears someone has broken in, get away from the car and call the police, as the intruder may still be hiding in your car or nearby.
When sending your children to college, advise them of the chance of attack and rape. Yes men can get raped also, but I will not go into any detail. Tell your child to travel on the campus with a friend and if dating always go on a double date with someone else they personally know other than their date. Advise your child to not participate in online or blind dating. Finally they should be inside a safe place during hours of darkness. If they must travel, tell them to travel with a trustworthy friend and even though walking is healthy, at night use public transportation.
So how do we prepare for an attack? First you can take a course on personal self-defense. Your local YMCA may have classes that can teach self-defense or you can go to a local self-defense school. There are many DVDs available that will teach the maneuvers necessary to defend yourself. Keep yourself fit and exercise regularly. Most assailants do not expect anyone they select to defend themselves, so any effort whether trained or not, may deter your assailant. The more fit you are the better you will be able to wrestle free of a hold and kick your assailant to stop them. Also to be able to run away you need to be in good shape.
The best self-defense is to be proactive. That is don’t expose yourself to bad situations and walk with a buddy. However reactive defense can be very effective also. We discussed screaming, yelling, kicking and running, which are always good. Everybody no matter how big or little, male or female should carry a non-lethal self-defense weapon. This would be Mace, tear gas, pepper spray or a stun gun. There are also a steel baton, kubotan and a heart attack defense weapon available to name a few. These can be found online with a simple search. The websites will describe the different self-defense items and you can contact the web site owner for help in choosing. Amazingly these items are not very expensive, but they are very effective.
Finally the saddest thing is when someone is abducted and we have no way of knowing where they are. Today we have very effective GPS Trackers that anyone can carry out of sight and the police or parents can use them to locate the person on the Internet.
Doug Harper is the owner of SharperSafety.com.