This month I wanted to talk about safety for women. All of us have been asked to give safety advice to women from time to time and most of us have women working where we are assigned. And certainly we all have special women in our lives that we want to make sure are staying as safe as they can possibly be. Here are a few points for your advice arsenal when you are called upon in your area of expertise.
Be Aware. Awareness is the most important aspect of self-defense. By simply being aware of your surroundings, you can avoid most threats on the street. If you see, or sense a problem, change your route or go to the other side of the street. Always be prepared to either run, or defend yourself.
Are we an easy target? A criminal attacker has a primary strategy of using the element of surprise. Keep your head up and your eyes moving when you are in public. Keep your mind in the game and don’t become an easy target. Avoid looking down or becoming task fixated (texting or using a cell phone). Don’t be alone in dangerous or remote places. Bad guys aren’t looking for a fight. They are looking for a win.
A key to awareness is to also be prepared. Always maintain eye contact and get into the habit of learning how to quick scan your environment. This can provide you with several advantages such as a quick escape, a third party in the area that may can help you, something close that may be used as a weapon, or simply sizing up the total situation and beginning that observation and reaction cycle. Don’t appear intimidated and always think on your feet. Whatever happens, react decisively.
I would not want to advise a woman to try to physically engage an attacker, but if attacked, you have to survive by any means available. That is the bottom line. A life threatening encounter is a matter of survival and you MUST WIN. Think about available weapons.
In a life-threatening situation, everything is a potential weapon you can use. If you are indoors, there are all kinds of things such as ashtrays, bottles, chairs, pencils, etc. If you are outside, stones, bricks, wood, sand, sticks, etc. Whatever you can get your hands on, use it with all of your might and strength!
Other items you can use as weapons include items in your purse, such as hairspray, breath spray or perfume, hair brush or comb, keys, or anything that can be used as a sharp stabbing style weapon. Spray can be directed at the eyes to cause them to have to react. A comb or hairbrush or sharp pointed item can be directed into the eyes, or any effective location to stop the attack or re-direct their attention.
Clothing items can also be used as a weapon. The purse itself can be used to swing toward the attacker or a belt or sweater or scarf can be used as a whipping type weapon or a choking device. Shoes can be thrown or used to kick an attacker. Use your resources and think through the process.
Don’t forget about the weapons God gave us! Scream or yell loudly to startle or discourage the attacker or to summon help. Scratch, especially the eyes or face as hard and as forceful as you can. Bite with everything you are made of!! Kick and strike as well. Remember that if we are fighting, go as hard as you can. This guy isn’t going easy so neither can you. Fight with all of your God given-weapons and make sure he feels every bit of it.
When attacked, don’t just defend. Attack back. React immediately and remember that your best chance to escape violence and minimize injury is in the first seconds. Our goal when fighting back is to do all that is needed to end the threat or to have enough time to escape. You must do everything in your power to WIN and survive. Act decisively and attack back hard and fast. You might only get one chance to get out of this attack.
Pass these points of advice along to the women in your life that need our expert advice. Protecting is what we are about. Give others tools to use to protect themselves. We may not always be there. Make sure they aren’t defenseless. Stay safe out there and make sure others do the same.