Violence against women strikes anytime and anywhere. It does not bow to race, religion, or economic class. Whether it appears as physical, sexual, or even psychological, this violence crosses every line and shows no respect for a woman’s role in life, whether she is a young daughter, mother, or even grandmother. It is a grave violation of human rights, and the impact of such violence is felt in larger forms. Violence against women works as a rock tossed carelessly into a pond…the ripples grow ever larger, affecting the victim, her family, her community, and even our country.
The years since the beginning of the women’s movement have placed gender-based violence on both the national and international screens. We have laws specifically directed toward domestic violence and sexual assault, but there are still many barriers to knock down, as challenges abound in implementing these laws correctly. Frankly, this violence often goes unpunished, resulting in women experiencing an overwhelming fear of reporting the crimes against them.
With all that is at stake, how do we stop this violence before it starts? There can be warning signs when it comes to relationships, but they can be so subtle that they are easy to miss. Of course, random violence shows no signs and can happen anywhere. There are things to keep in mind and tricks to learn to prepare ourselves before this can happen to us.
Keep in mind that someone who would threaten you with a weapon has a different cognitive process than you! This person will not think the same way or reason in the same manner. In fact, there is no such thing as reasoning with such an individual. Attackers do not follow the same rules of society, nor do they offer compassion the way you would. You will only have a few seconds to act, and hesitations could be costly! The fear cannot be avoided, and that is not only normal but can work to your advantage, as it prompts your fight or flight instinct to kick in with a vengeance.
If someone has grabbed you, do not waste time or energy in fruitless attempts to yank yourself away. Go in for a surprise attack first and then jerk yourself out of his grasp and run. A good area to aim for is the knee. Thrust the sole of your foot into the side of his knee and follow through. Do not kick and pull back. You should literally attempt to kick through the knee. It is difficult for the attacker to block this and it will bring him down quickly. Trust me on this one. I was once accosted by someone, mere days after taking a self-defense class! His timing could not have been worse…for him. I used that knee kick and not only did he go down hard, his grip on me loosened, and I was able to get away.
Another tip is to hit your assailant’s nose, using an upward palm strike. This manner of breaking a nose is much more painful! Aiming for the neck, slightly below the ear, is always beneficial. Even a weak blow will cause a great deal of pain, due to the location of the vagus nerve. A strong blow will make him swoon, quite literally! Get your elbows involved! A hit in the face by an elbow is a highly painful thing to experience and can be done in close quarters.
This may sound very odd, but an ear slap is a thing of beauty. Cup your hand, sending a blast of air into the ear canal. This will completely throw an attacker off as it affects his equilibrium. If you do it hard enough, you can burst his eardrum. Also, do not be squeamish about going for the eyes! Use your keys, your fingers, whatever you have available at the moment. Once you are free, run and scream like you never have before and probably never will again! Even if your attacker can follow you, which is unlikely after the beat down you have given him, he is unlikely to want the attention that you are drawing to yourself and the situation.
These strategies are simply the tip of the iceberg. Every woman and girl should consider taking a self-defense class. The key is to be prepared and never let them take you to a second location. Women are nurturers and sometimes this can be detrimental. Do not be afraid to hurt your attacker! In a life threatening situation, if you are not injuring him, you are probably the one who will be hurt. Never be afraid or ashamed to take control of your safety and wellbeing!