Most years I put on some kind of workshop -- either martial arts, or sign language, usually. This year I'm only doing one workshop, but it's something a little new for me. I'll be doing a self defense workshop for teen girls
I've been thinking about and planning this workshop for a while. We'll be doing a combination of physical self defense, practical tips, and how to keep yourself out of danger. Plus some discussion of mental defense and rape culture.
I'm not completely done planning, but I thought I would share a few of the tips I was planning on talking about.
1. Trust your instincts.
Cliché yes, but for good reason. All too often, after a woman has been attacked, she will say that she felt like something wasn't right, but she thought she was being paranoid. While you don't want to live our life in fear, another cliché applies here: better safe than sorry. If something feels wrong, chances are it is.
2. Don't look like a victim.
Stand up straight, walk quickly but not at a run, and keep your gaze level. Stick your chest out and look confident, even if you really feel terrified -- people are much less likely to attack or harass you if you look strong and sure of yourself.
3. Keep your keys in your hand.
If you're walking in an area that makes you a little uneasy, especially alone or at night, keep a hold of your keys. This makes it easier to get into your car quickly without having to dig around in you bag. Plus, if you make a fist with your key sticking through your fingers, you have a good weapon to use against someone's eyes or throat.
If someone does attack you, fight back as loudly as you can. Not only does yelling give you more power, but it scares your attacker and alerts other people to the situation, who will hopefully come to your aid.
5. Hit vulnerable targets.
If you have to defend yourself, use simple techniques such as knees and palms, and hit vulnerable targets, like the eyes, throat, and groin.
6. Use your surroundings.
Throw sand in your attacker's face. Hit them with your backpack. Brace yourself against your car while you kick them. Anything to give yourself an advantage. There is no such thing as fighting dirty when it comes to defending yourself.
7. If you get pinned, keep moving.
The worst thing you can do in the event that you get pinned down is stop fighting. Whatever you do, just keep moving, especially your hips. If you can, use our knees and feet to spread open their legs while you worm your way out. Get on your feet ASAP.
8. Never get into a car under duress.
If someone asks for your wallet, give it them. They want your necklace? Hand it over. Those aren't worth getting hurt. But if someone tries to get you into their car, or trunk, fight back hard. Your chances of remaining alive and well if you get into a car plummet significantly, so use surprise to your advantage, hit them hard, and run.
9. If someone harasses you, tell someone.
Tell everyone. And don't stop telling people until something has been done. This applies for everyone, no matter what age you are. Tell your parents, tell HR, tell the police. Remember that nothing you did cause this behavior -- you didn't "ask for it" via your clothing, or behavior. If you do nothing, even if the harassment on you stops, there is nothing to say that another person might suffer at the hands of the same aggressor. Make sure that people know what that person is capable of.
10. Other people cannot earn sex/love by being nice to you/doing you favors.
It doesn't matter if they walked your dog. It doesn't matter if they helped you through a bad breakup. It doesn't matter if they bought you dinner. You do not owe them sex, or love, or a relationship. You still retain the right to say no. Anyone who tries to demand anything from you and uses the argument that you owe them because of x, y, and z is being emotionally abusive -- and that's not the kind of person you want in your life.
This is just a small sampling of tips for staying safe. What other tips do you try to follow? Share in the comments!