April is sexual assault awareness month. With crime on the rise, every woman needs to be aware of self-defense tips that can save her life at any given moment. Unfortunately, women are assaulted more often than men and statistics indicate that one in three women will be the victim of some type of violent attack in her lifetime.
According to a University of Washington study, learning self-defense skills benefits women in ways that extend beyond discovering how to protect themselves. It also boosts their self-esteem and positively affects their personality. As women, we know all too well how it feels to walk out of our house and have a sense of fear. Whether we’re going to work, school, bars, clubs, the mall, gym and even our own cars.
There’s so much we can do to prepare and plan for a moment like these so why not start with the basics. Check out the list below of 7 self-defense tips all women should know. Plus take a listen to the Outdoorsy Diva Podcast with Nicole Snell as she talks about the empowerment black women receive from knowing self-defense skills.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
We all know a women’s intuition is a powerful thing and nine times out of ten it doesn’t lie. When you’re out and about and you feel that something is off, trust that instinct and examine why you feel that way. Unfortunately, a lot of women have been conditioned to ignore the little voice that tells them trouble is coming. They might be told or think to themselves that they’re overthinking but sis I’d rather be SAFE than SORRY.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Whether it’s 12AM, 6AM, 2PM or 11PM always be aware of your surroundings. When you’re leaving work, dinner, the club, etc. always have your keys out and ready. Have your phone handy but don’t be so absorbed in your phone on Instagram or Tik Tok, that you miss what’s going on around you. Once you’re in the car, check your back seat and lock your doors. Don’t waste time sitting in your car scrolling on Instagram or taking selfies. Start your car and head to your next destination. Trust me, social media can wait.
PRACTICE TARGET DENIAL
Never make yourself an accessible target. If you’re caught in a situation and have the opportunity to escape from a situation before it turns bad, take it! If you’re walking alone and someone walking up to you makes you feel uncomfortable go a different way. If someone speaks to you and you don’t feel comfortable responding, don’t! These actions don’t make you cowardly or rude instead they’re a smart way to eliminate danger.
PRESENT YOURSELF WITH CONFIDENCE
Walk around with your head held high. Be aware of your body language and the messages your body sends to those around you. Like animals, human predators target those they consider the weakest or most vulnerable. Walking with confidence and being aware of your surroundings will dramatically reduce the likelihood of becoming a target in the first place.
SET STRONG VERBAL BOUNDARIES
If a predator engages you in conversation, he’s actually “interviewing” you to see if you’ll make a good victim. An experienced attacker has practiced using words to freeze you with fear, thus reducing the chance that you’ll try to defend yourself. If you stand tall, remain calm and respond confidently and assertively, you’ll probably fail his interview. There’s power in your voice and tone.
KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE
You know your comfort zone and who you like in your personal space. When a stranger or an aggressor enters that zone, you’re uncomfortable because you know you’d need that space if you had to fight back. The Black Belt Magazine recommends trying to maintain approximately one to one-and-a-half arm lengths between yourself and the aggressor. If aggressor starts closing in, you need to use verbal boundaries. If the aggressor still doesn’t back off, it’s time to get physical.
USE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE
Sadly, most predators assume you cannot defend yourself. This is where they got you messed up sis! Take advantage of the element of surprise. If you feel threaten putting up a fight can surprise him and increase your chance of landing the first blow.