Hey hey! This is a long, but important one!
Picture this, you’re walking to your car through the parking lot after dark, when someone jumps out and grabs you. You were looking down at your phone the moment before so you were totally caught unaware. Would you know what to do to get away? What if he asked you to get in the car with him? Or what if he had a gun?
How often do you think about that happening? Odds are, not often enough. It will always happen to “someone else,” right? The other girl is obviously an easier target than I am.
Last night some of the girls in our life group from church headed down to the local university for a personal self defense class! One of the girl’s husbands is a cop, and he and a few of his coworkers generously put on a free class for us and several other girls around our age. **This class was specifically geared towards women learning how to safely protect themselves from male predators. None of this is meant to be sexist.** Now that that’s cleared up…
The head officer who taught us has spent many, many years working in prisons, and on college campuses. One of the prisons she worked in was 80% sexual offenders, so she knows a thing or two about that population. She’s seen IT ALL. And trust me, you do not want to be on her bad side. I’m pretty sure she could take me down with one move. She is extremely well versed in self defense, and knows exactly what to do in just about any scenario.
She started off class just by telling us about her history, some of the things she’s seen and responded to, and was really, really honest and blunt with us about taking our safety seriously, and honestly just the world we live in. We talked about law issues, and what ifs, and things to think about that we had never paid much attention to. One point that really stood out to me, and hit me hard, was that in the state of Arkansas, and a few others (can’t remember which ones) if you don’t literally ever say “NO!”, then you are by law, giving consent. A defense lawyer could latch onto that, and your entire argument could potentially be toast.
She made it very clear to us that our own safety is up to us. As females, we need to take it seriously, and always be aware, and believe that anyone can hurt us, and someone out there, wants to. There are people out there whose “normal” is waking up and thinking, “who can I hurt today? who can I rape today? who can I kidnap today?” No matter how “safe” of an area you think you live in, don’t ever let you guard down. Don’t ever let yourself feel completely safe, because as soon as you do, you’ve become the perfect target. She also drilled in the point that criminals don’t care if you make it home safely that night. They don’t care if you ever see your family again. They literally don’t care about your well-being at all, and have more than likely been forming their plan of attack for much longer than you’d like to believe. She was very, very harsh, and VERY real with us, but only because she wanted us to truly understand the dangers that are out there, get out from our naive upbringings and assumptions, and understand that something bad can happen in the blink of an eye. It was definitely a wake up call, and made me realize how unobservant I am more times than not. I’ve definitely made mental notes and have already made some changes!
One of the class participants actually told all of us a story from her past where she was attacked. She came home late one Saturday night, pulled into her garage, thought for a second that something seemed weird but ignored her gut, got out of her car, and three men walked into her garage, one with a gun, and forced her to get back in the car, and they drove off with her. She didn’t share anymore details, but that was enough to wake us all up. She said she lived in a nice subdivision, decent size lots, everyone knew each other, and “nothing bad ever happened.” Come to find out, the main criminal had been stalking her for SIX MONTHS, learned her patterns and when she came home, and she never, ever noticed him. Scary, huh? Thankfully that man is now in prison.
After we were all terrified and ready to apply for our concealed carry licenses (kidding, but really), we learned several basic moves that could help us escape if we were ever attacked. For the most part, these were upper body moves, things that keep your feet firmly planted on the ground so your’e less likely to be picked up. She also taught us several pressure points to hit, how to properly punch someone in the nose, how to LITERALLY rip someones eye balls out, muscle jabs that can cause numbness, elbow punches in the sternum, shin scrapes and how to brake an ankle, neck and shoulder jabs that can cause a person to momentarily black out, and the ‘ole faithful: twist and shout (aka grab his junk, and twist it so hard they scream, and have to have them surgically repaired). We lost is upon learning the twist and shout, but I feel fairly confident it would get the job done! We also learned a lethal move, but I won’t tell you what it is for fear that you go and test it out irresponsibly on someone. I’m sure you could google it.
We also talked about how men and women are built differently, and how that’s reflected in their body strength. Men will almost always win when it comes to upper body strength, but women are much stronger from the hips down. When we were learning our jabs, she made it a point to make sure we were all twisting at our hips, and ready to basically, put our hips and butt into it to gain more power.
The guys came around with punching bags and pads and we were able to practice our hits, all while screaming “NO!” at the top of our lungs. Our instructor came around and watched all of us, and if we weren’t doing a move correctly or hard enough, she’d either make us do it again, or demonstrate it again on us. AH! She was hard core man.
I feel much more confident in my ability to fight off a predator now, and am really so thankful I took the time to go to this class! I really feel like it was worth its weight in gold.
Here are my take-aways from the class. Hopefully they help you as well!
Personal Self Defense Tips for Women
-Always be aware of your surroundings. Know what street you are on. Know what building you are by. Be able to describe to a first responder in an emergency if you had to tell them exactly where you are.
-When walking to your car, put your car key in between your fingers so you are ready to use it as a weapon if need be. Most notably: to gauge out the lunatic’s eyes. Yes, that’s extreme.
-Make eye contact when you pass someone and feel uneasy. Criminals know that if you make eye contact with them and clearly see their face, that you could potentially be able to identify them in court if need be.
-Do anything in your power to “throw off their plan.” Typically, if you mess up their masterminded plan, it will upset them and they might give up.
-Sleep with your car key alarm button near your pillow at night. If you’re home alone and hear a strange noise outside, hit the panic button and it will likely scare off anyone lurking outside that shouldn’t be there.
-Wait until you are IN your driveway to open your garage door. Don’t open it when you’re still a block away.
-Lock your car doors AS SOON AS you get in your car. Don’t sit there and mess around on your phone and then decide to lock them. Go ahead and lock them immediately.
-If you’re driving around, become lost, and just “feel” like you’re in a bard part of town or things don’t feel right to you, turn around immediately. You’ll know when things don’t feel right.
-Leave at least a half a car length in front of you and the next car when you stop at an intersection. If someone were to approach your vehicle, you don’t want to be boxed in. Always leave some space to speed away if you absolutely had to.
-Don’t walk around in public by yourself with your head down and on your phone. Put it away. When you’re distracted and looking down at your phone, you look like an easy target.
-If you ever were to be attacked, do NOT wash your hands. Instead, immediately go to the police station so they can collect any DNA you might still have on your hands.
-Do everything in your absolute, strongest, mightiest power to NOT get in the car with an attacker. 9 times out of 10, it’s game over.
-Yell “NO!” as loud and as much as possible, you could potentially be blamed for actually giving consent.
-In case you somehow hurt your attacker, their family can come back and still sue you. The courts are messed up ya’ll.
-If you walk around with your head up, believing that you are strong, and capable, make good eye contact, and appear very aware of your surroundings, you are instantly a tough target.
-If you see or hear ANYTHING that doesn’t seem right, report it. Just suck it up and report it. You’re not going to bother anyone. You never know if you may have actually prevented something, or saved someone.
-TRUST YOUR GUT. Every dang time it will be right. If you get an uneasy feeling about something, run the heck away.
-Carrying mace around isn’t the most effective form of self protection. It’s only effective from within a few feet, and you basically have to hit them point blank in the eyes. Worst case, they grab it and use it on you! Instead, and you may laugh, but our instructor said to keep a bottle of wasp spray in your car, or somewhere nearby. Apparently that stuff can do some damage!
-If you are attacked, it was for a very specific reason. Just be aware of your presence, especially your online presence, i.e. social media. Just be smart, and don’t be naive in thinking you “don’t have a trail.”
-Don’t take the same way home everyday. Don’t do the same routine everyday. Switch it up. Criminals will learn quickly what your habits are, and will be able to learn your route easily.
-Kicks can be effective at defending yourself, but only if done correctly. Men are naturally stronger in a lot of ways, and if they can grab your leg when you go to kick them, you’re done. You will instantly lose all of your power if you fall out of a firm stance.
-The under, boney side of your palm, by your wrist, is best for punching someone in the face. But it’s not so much a punch, but more like an upward thrust into their nose so it makes their eyes water enough for you to possibly escape.
-If you are hitting with your fist, don’t ever put your thumb inside your fingers because you will break your thumb.
-No matter how nice someone is, do NOT roll down your window. No matter how poor or sad a person looks, do NOT roll down your window. No matter what a person tries to offer you, do NOT roll down your window. You have no way of knowing what kind of drugs they’re on, or what their motivations are. If someone is on Meth, they don’t feel anything. And they sure as heck won’t care. (This one obviously has some room for interpretation…I’ve given $ to homeless people on the street corner before and never felt threatened. So, take this one lightly. Just use commonsense.)
I think that about sums it up! If I think of anything else we learned, I’ll add them. I don’t want these things to scare you, but rather wake you up and make you more aware of how vulnerable you sometimes are. Unfortunately, we live in a terrible, terrible world, and bad things can happy to good people in an instant! I also don’t want any of this to come across as sexist in saying that only men attack women. Our class instructor specifically discussed male attackers who prey on women, and clearly our class was geared towards female self defense. Obviously, anyone can attack anyone, male or female.
Just be AWARE, girls. Keep your head up, and show how strong and confident you are!
Have you ever been to a self defense class? Do you feel like you could ward off an attacker? Would you want to take a self defense class?