The subject of women’s self-defense has been a controversial one for quite a while. There are large numbers of women who are strong believers that a woman shouldn’t HAVE to defend herself, but that it’s the men that MUST stop attacking them. While this is true, we still live in a time where rape culture is alive and well and bad guys still think that it’s ok to attack a woman. So, until rape culture becomes a thing of the past, we still need to be aware and prepared. The statistics on the annual number of attacks in the US alone are staggering, and as much as you want to believe that it couldn’t possibly happen to you, the awful reality is that it just might. So, in order not to be caught off guard, here’s virtually everything you need to know about defending yourself.
The first prerequisite of successful self-defense is awareness. Regardless whether you’re in a ‘safe’ or dicey neighborhood, never let your guard down when you’re alone at night. Never tune out by putting headphones in your ears. Always keep your hands free and look fearless and confident. If you’re on your way to your car, don’t waste time by searching for your keys once in front of the car – have them in your hands and get in the car as soon as you’re there. Once inside the car, start it immediately and drive. Lingering only makes you more vulnerable to a potential predator who’s watching. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that most attackers won’t start off violently but with the attacker luring you into a secluded space by striking up different kinds of conversation. In his book The Gift of Fear Gavin de Becker points out a number of these conversational signals. He calls them Pre-Incident Indicators (P.I.N.S.). They include, but are not limited to offers to help, insulting you into allowing them to help you, and refusing the word ‘no’.
Don’t buy into old myths
There are tons of bogus myths on self-defense that haven’t worked in the past and they don’t work now. First of all, watching YouTube videos can’t teach you how to defend yourself, and many self-defense videos and classes offer outdated and ineffective techniques that may work in a controlled ‘rehearsed’ environment, but a real attack is messy, unpredictable, and chaotic. The things that definitely won’t work in an actual attack are arm locks, flips, submission holds or flying side kicks. Pepper spray isn’t a strong enough tool as many assailants simply ingest it and continue to fight. Never try to reason with your attacker and ‘talk him out of the assault’; these people can’t be reasoned with. Your best defense is offense, and what you need first is to get in shape. This alone won’t save you, but if you visit a mixed martial arts gym and work not only on your fitness levels but also learn real and contemporary fighting techniques that work in the real world, you stand a good chance. This way, not only will you know the right moves and places to hit, but you will also have the strength to inflict some serious injuries.
Speaking of injuries
Your goal isn’t to simply hurt the attacker – the main, ultimate goal is to injure them severely so they’re unable to move let alone hit you. The main thing to keep in mind is to try to injure someone while avoiding getting injured yourself. This is exactly why you shouldn’t wait for the attacker to make the first move – you need to hit first, and hit hard, and know where to hit so you. Learn what some of the most sensitive areas are and focus your strength on them. Don’t pull away, this is how you get injured. Your best chance of survival is to throw yourself at the attacker before he has the chance to throw himself on you. Once you’re under his control it’s far more difficult to free yourself. Once you make sure he’s hurt enough and isn’t able to quickly recover from your strike, run! Run before he has a chance to get up and go after you. Finally, always make sure to look him in the face so you can report the attack and be able to recognize him if the police catch him.
Peter Minkoff is a beauty & style writer at HighStyleLife & Ivania’s Mode magazine. Beside writing he worked as a beauty consultant for many fashion events around UK & AUS! His future plans are in creating a business for beauty and style advising.