Female Survival Mindset

11/12/2013 03:28 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014
Rick Gomez via Getty Images

I would say, with a great deal of certainty, that at some point in their lives, each and every woman has considered taking a self-defense class. But do they act on this thought?

Conceptually, we all know that the threat of violence exists in our daily lives. These threats include the following: a random attack from a stranger, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or more unfortunately, violence perpetrated by someone we know. The question remains, though, "What is required for a woman to accept that these threats are real and may become her reality?

Daily headlines recount numerous violent incidents, but of course, it has happened to someone else -- NOT ME.

I confess that this was me, before I was attacked. In fact, a year earlier, I had taken a beginner self-defense seminar (at the insistence of my father) and while I was able to replicate the techniques, I had not given much thought to the fact that I could possibly be a victim of violence.

I would like to compare learning self-defense to driving a car. All drivers take certain safety precautions: we wear seatbelts; we feel confident that the more airbags equipped in the car the better; tires with treads make us feel safer in slick conditions; there are cars that can now anticipate accidents about to happen, and so on. These safety measures are there IN CASE there is an accident. Why not, then, take the same approach to learning self-defense? Yes, the threat of violence may be distant, random or negligible; but it can happen and impact your life in countless, terrible ways.

For myself personally, I regret that I did not fully accept the potential of falling victim to violence and treating my own safety, day in and day out, as I do when driving:

• I regret that I did not pay more attention in that first beginner seminar and actually retained more of the information (that would have required me to give the instructor my undivided attention).
• I regret that I did not immediately pursue further self-defense instruction after that seminar, again not fully appreciating the risk factors for violent incidents.
• I regret that I did not fully appreciate the impact violence can have on your life, even if you survive the attack.
• After I was attacked, I regret that I allowed myself to feel victimized rather than adopt a survival mindset.

Just as one would take a 'defensive driver' course, a woman owes it to herself (and her loved ones) to be able to defend herself when confronted by violence. She must accept that:

• Violence CAN and MIGHT happen to ME
• I must NOT allow myself to think like a VICTIM (I can control the outcome of a violent attack)
• I am able to adopt a SURVIVAL MINDSET and accept that I can surmount any and all obstacles for my own safety
• I will become a HARD TARGET and make myself less open to a violent attack

I'm sure most of us can recall a time when we felt that we had managed to avoid a potentially violent incident and breathed a little sigh of relief. Rather than hoping we are one of the lucky ones (and not a statistic), we must act and take control of our own safety.

It is my mission and privilege through The Soteria Method™ to pass on my knowledge and expertise of self-defense to as many women as possible; so that they too can protect themselves and their families.

Stay safe and live well,

Avital Zeisler