Welcome to the final recap of the Let’s Get Physical series, and another great women’s self-defense post from self-defense expert and guest blogger Felicia Hodges, whose inspiring story Kicking Cancer’s Ass first ran here.
According to a 1998 FBI crime victimization survey, 81% of women who tried to run away from an attacker escaped and 68% of women who used some type of physical force when confronted also were able to get away from their attackers.
To me, that means doing something is better than doing nothing.
Last time, we talked about some physical techniques that can be used to help get away from a grab from behind or at the wrist. While “getting physical” should always, always, always be used as an absolute last resort, it should never be discounted. Whether you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t, you’re probably right.
So, let’s say you’ve practiced those wrist-grab or bear-hug escapes and found at least one that works for you. Now what?
Don’t just stand there – run Forrest, run!
- As soon as an opening presents itself, move away as fast as possible.
- Use your voice as you move – loud screaming is as necessary as moving
- Remember any identifying characteristics – height, weight, hair/eye color
- Report incident to police as soon as possible – even if nothing was taken from you physically or you were unhurt; a report might help to prevent it from happening to someone else.
- Get help from doctors, counselors, friends, etc. for any post-trauma issues you may have
The difficulty for many of us is this frightening statistic: close to 100 American women per hour are assaulted by someone that THEY ALREADY KNOW. If you think screaming like a banshee and slamming the heel of your palm into the nose of a stranger might be a bit difficult, imagine how hard it will be to do the same to your tipsy uncle or the brother of your best friend.
Although the same rules of awareness, avoidance, de-escalation and getting physical and getting the heck away from the fray are the same, the emotional part can be a little different when it’s someone you are acquainted with.
Women are natural nurturers. We want to help, more often than not and often make great strides to make sure everyone around us is comfortable. We also tend to downplay our instincts and think we are over-reacting when we get that “something just doesn’t feel right” vibe. Too often, we don’t and folks looking for prey use that to their advantage.
To that, I say this: trust your gut. Women’s intuition is no joke – and is there for a reason. Never discount that “I’m uncomfortable” feeling you get in the pit of your stomach around certain people. It something feels off-kilter, it probably is.
Felicia Hodges is an adjunct professor of journalism and second-degree black belt in USA Goju who resides with her family in the Newburgh (NY) area. Along with her training partner, she is co-operator and instructor at Newburgh Goju, a local dojo that offers karate classes for kids and adults, for a modest annual fee of $25. Equally as passionate about women’s self defense, Felicia also offers free classes to female participants with a focus on awareness, avoidance and escape (physical measures are taught as the last resort).
To read more about Felicia and her martial arts journey, check out her personal blog titled Bushido Road.