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No one wants to think about being attacked – but it happens.

An estimated 1.9 million women in America are physically assaulted each year. What can you do to protect yourself? Be prepared.

What is self-defense?

Self-defense is about protecting your personal space and preventing people from hurting you. It involves preventing or surviving aggressive behaviors from verbal assaults to physical attacks. Self-defense can include using weapons like pepper spray to protect yourself. Being prepared can improve your chances of surviving an attack.

The following methods can help you prevent disaster:

* Learn to set boundaries.

Let others know acceptable and unacceptable ways of treating you. Setting boundaries helps you to react correctly to unacceptable behavior.

* Be aware of your body language.

Attackers often prey upon people whom they see as weak. Be confident, keep your head up and walk with a sense of purpose.

* Know what’s going on around you.

Is someone following you? Does the same car keep circling your block? Keep an eye out for places where an attacker could hide, such as in bushes, behind parked cars or in alleys. Women often know their attackers, so be aware of both strangers and people you know who may be acting differently toward you.

* Take a verbal approach.

If someone is verbally attacking you or attempting to intimidate you, try agreeing with him or her – or try changing the subject. This may help distract the attacker’s attention and calm the situation.

* Be around other people.

If you’re out at night, go with a group. Do not be alone if you can help it. Go where other people are gathered. Do not walk alone in parking ramps or lots.

* Keep your distance.

Keep as much space as you can between yourself and a possible attacker. If you’re in your car, stay there.

* Attract attention.

If you’re attacked, yell loudly. Not only will this help others hear you, but it will also force you to breathe. This helps you to think and act during an attack. Make noise – blow your car horn or a whistle. Throw things.

* Run.

Don’t fight unless you have to. Scream while trying to run away. Go somewhere safe, such as a police station or a public area. Fight only if you can’t get away from your attacker.

* Consider your options.

Even if your attacker is bigger and stronger than you, you still have options. Surprise the attacker with strong, purposeful, effective blows. Use strong parts of your body – the bottoms of your feet, your elbows and your hands. Aim at weak parts of the attacker – eyes, throat, groin and knees. Kick the attacker in the shins or in the groin. Stomp on the attacker’s foot using your heel. If the attacker grabs your legs, fight with your arms.


Also, learn less obvious means of protection.

Women and girls get attacked and raped everyday. It is horrifying, terrifying but very true. There are some ways that we can help protect us that we may not have even thought of or heard of. Some women have been attacked more than others and there doesn’t seem to be any more reason for them to have it happen to them than to other women. Are there reasons why some are more vulnerable to attack than others? The answer to this is yes. It is sad but true. Is it there fault? Absolutely not.

Here are a few things that you can do to help prevent it from happening to you. There are the obvious things that we all must do. Avoid going out at night. If you must don’t go alone or at least go where it is well lighted. Park close to the store or place that you need to go too. Have your keys in your hand with the keys pointed out so that if you need to protect yourself you have them in your hands. Have your cell phone available and easily assessible. Also have mace or hairspray, something that you can use if you need to.

The less obvious things that are important is to walk with purpose and confidence. Keep your head up and back straight. Attackers will purposely seek out those who look vulnerable, meek and afraid. It is not your fault, but they are going to go for the ones that they see that are the most likely victims. Unfortunately those who have been victimized before are the most likely to be targeted. Even though you may not feel it, act as if! Rapists and attackers, are cowards, and they are going to go after those that appear the most vulnerable.

It is important to follow the obvious tips to protect yourself, but it is also important to remember the things that we don’t always think of. Remember to walk confidently, keep your head up and move quickly. Be observant and don’t spend unnecessary time getting into your car. If you are at the grocery store, it is better to have pick-up service if you are parked a distance away from the store. Don’t put your groceries in the car at night if you are alone. If there is anything put on your windshield, leave it until you are away from the parking lot. Always check quickly that there is no one in the car before you get in and of course lock the doors immediately when you get in. Don’t eat in your car in the parking lot unless you are in a fast food lot where there are windows where employees can see you.

Always be on guard. Be careful and safe. If is not fair that we have to be so vigilant but unfortunately that is the way of the world today. I hope that this helps you to remember that we need to be very observant of our surroundings to keep ourselves safe.


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