One the face of it, the stats for personal / sexual assaults on women are pretty discouraging. Conservative estimates have it that around 1 in 5 women will become victims of sexual assault within their lifetime.
But a recent study in Canada found that of 60,000 female students - all of whom had undergone 12 hours of basic self-defense training - around 98% were able to avoid assault altogether. And get this: of those that were assaulted, 97% stopped their attacker - the vast majority of them with body language and voice commands alone.
True, not everyone has the time or patience to commit to a lengthy study of martial arts or self-defense tactics. But everyone can and should know the basic principles of self-protection.
Share these funadmentals with your friends and loved ones, in the interests of keeping them all a little safer. Then consider signing yourself and your family up for classes or workshops to learn more. No amount of knowledge or skill will make you invulnerable. But in this particular game, the statistics show: a little knowledge can go a long way.
Top 5 Personal Safety Tips
1. Stay Aware
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid lonely places, and get off your cell phone. If you’re walking anywhere alone, especially at night, get off your phone, walk with your head up, and maintain 360 degree awareness until you reach your destination
If you think you may be in a situation where an attack is imminent – run. Put as much space between yourself and the attacker as possible. If they can’t reach you, they can’t hurt you. Commit to running as a defensive tactic.
3. Maintain Distance
If someone is already too close, and you can’t run, create more distance between you and that person immediately. Create a ‘fence’ for yourself by raising one hand slightly out in front of you, turn your body slightly to one side (be prepared to run), and shout “Stay back” in a clear, commanding voice.
4. Break Free
Being touched or grabbed should be your automatic ‘go’ button – this is your cue to escape by all means necessary. Dodge, slip, or rip your way free. Stun the attacker with a solid push, kick, or strike. But don’t hang around to see the result. Make a move and go. Your number one priority is getting away from the situation, and then when you’re in a safe place, file a report with the police.
5. Fight Back
If you’re pinned down or grabbed, it’s time to fight back. With no other options remaining, you'll have to do the best you can. However, there are tactics you can use to fend off bigger, stronger attackers using pressure points and knowing the body’s weak spots.