Hi ladies, and all the men that help spread self-defense knowledge for women. :) As I often get asked to share my thoughts and opinions on violence prevention and self-defense, I want to share with you some basic safety tips that can help you prevent being targeted for violence. I wanted to use the footage of this recent clip that highlights a man's attempt to attack a woman in the stairwell of her building. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon, as many of my female students have shared the same experience. You can see the video HERE.
I consider this to be a close quarter example of an attack -- as a staircase is a very disadvantageous location to be the target of an assault/sexual assault. Here are some simple tips you can implement to make yourself a harder target.
1. Intuition. Your intuition is your personal alarm for safety -- listen to it. At some point in this video the woman becomes aware of this man's presence and begins to climb the stairs quicker. The question is, how do we become aware earlier on, so we can escape or eliminate the threat altogether. This comes down to having situational awareness, and one of my favorite tactics for this is...
2. Peripheral Vision. Use your peripheral vision to visually scan a larger area so that you can locate someone suspicious faster. If your intuition tells you something is wrong, listen to it, and don't put yourself in a more dangerous situation. For example, if you happen to identify a potential threat outside the location you are entering, listen to it and don't proceed -- don't ever assume anything.
3. The Stop and Pass. Pay extra attention when entering close quarter locations or a place that you frequent. If you suspect someone is following you, let them pass by you and keep them within your public range of distance (this means that you can at least kick them if you had to). This will allow you to immediately engage in a defensive combative if needed to disrupt the attacker's thought process, allowing you to take a strategic next step of either escaping or closing in, if there is no escape available. For example, this could mean pretending to take a call and stopping on the spot to assess the reaction of the person behind you -- just do what is necessary to not expose your back.
4. Improvised weapons. Any object can be tactically used to help you defend yourself -- for this review I want to highlight keys: I always recommend holding your keys to and from locations (especially since most people hold their keys in their hands anyway). Turn this into a habit if you don't already, but everyone can take it one step further by holding the longest and hardest key between the index and middle fingers. If an attacker does close in on you, you can escalate your defensive use of force against him/her with the improvised weapon.
5. Self-Defense. This is why you need to know how to defend yourself, because when it comes down to it - you are your first and last line of defense, and there is a way to transform into your own weapon of safety. As far as tactics go, I could go on all day and highlight my top tactics for women, but my top targets to strike are the groin and eyes/face.
6. Visualization. I recommend visualizing reactions to types of attacks you feel you could face in locations that are relevant to your own personal life. Unfortunately a portion of my students have faced this exact scenario which is why I recommend to visualize reactions so that you can condition your survival mindset to pull from your memory.
As far as actual tactics go, I could go on for hours and also provide a more in depth analysis on this one piece of footage, but I want to give you at least a couple of tips to think about, take away, and implement in your life.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! Please share with other women.