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Rule #5: Thou Shalt Know How to Protect Thyself

Women’s self-defense is something I am incredibly passionate about. Did you know that 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime? That 60% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police? That 88% of sexual assault victims knew their attacker? That 15/16 rapists will never spend a day in jail?

I am passionate about this partially because I am a sexual assault survivor. Though I sometimes still have trouble convincing myself that it wasn’t my fault, I do know that things could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have some basic self-defense skills that I learned from women’s self-defense class I took a few years ago. I actually took the class somewhat by accident, because I was naive enough to think it would never happen to me. But it did. It wasn’t rainy or night like in the movies – in fact, it was a bright, sunny afternoon. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I was lucky because I knew some basic moves that, also luckily, were enough to scare off my attacker.

Defend yourself -- avoidance, anger essential elements for protection

photo via Fort Rucker

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’re being assaulted, here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your knees and elbows pack the most punch in terms of force (you’re also the least likely to injure yourself if you use your elbow or knee).
  • You know that self-defense bit from Miss Congeniality? It’s not bad – Solar plexus, Instep, Nose, Groin! The last two are especially good to aim for.
  • Make lots of noise if you can. Yell something – anything – it will get people’s attention.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings – if you’re in an unfamiliar environment, never go anywhere alone unless you’re absolutely sure it is safe (ask the locals!)
  • Trust your gut. If you feel a situation is unsafe, get out. Your instinct is always your bet.
  • If you are sexually assaulted, report it immediately. Even if they don’t catch your attacker, your report may help in the future if your attacker continues to attack other women.
Part of being the best woman you can be is knowing how to protect your awesome self. The effects of sexual assault can be devastating and long-lasting. You can’t know if it’ll happen to you or not – so the best thing you can do for yourself is be prepared. Don’t make the mistake I made and think it can’t happen to you. It can happen to anybody. So prepare yourself, and know how to protect yourself.
Here are some good resources:

Slutwalk London

photo via msmornington
Go forth and protect your amazing self.
xoxo,

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