The NSA Women-Safe Network began offering self-defense programs in the River Valley close to 2 years ago, and I’ve presented a number of danger awareness workshops and seminar talks in churches, schools, and to civic groups. But in talking with people on the street as I go about my daily life, I’ve found an interesting, yet dangerous, attitude among many women I speak with about rape or assault…”It won’t happen סדנת מיניות לנשים to me.”
NSA Women-Safe Network
Sadly, crimes against women are on the rise in the United States, yet most women give no thought to how they would defend themselves against an attacker until it is too late. I have found that most women are not “danger aware” and are too busy living life to take notice of their surroundings and spot potential threats. They are more focused on getting the kids to school, buying groceries, managing a career (or a home) then they are on learning how to defend themselves.
Every day we all face unsafe situations, and at times, we are to blame by careless or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As I’ve talked with rape victims who have taken our self-defense classes, I’ve found that many were (admittedly) simply not paying attention to their surroundings and inadvertently put themselves into a situation where they could be taken advantage of; and when attacked, they did not know how to respond to defend themselves. And now they live with the memory of this act of violence on their person for the rest of their lives.
So how important is it for women to know self-defense today? Here are some interesting facts from the Department of Justice:
· Every 46 seconds, a women in raped in the US
· By the age of 18, 1 in 4 girls will be sexually assaulted
· 1 in 4 rapes occur in a public place
· 2/3 of all rapes occur between 6pm and 6am
· 75% of women raped knew their rapist
· More than 50% of rapists were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they commit their crime
· 95% of all domestic violence incidents were against women
· 3 out of 4 domestic homicides occurred after the victim left the (abusive) relationship.
Studies tell us less than 1/3 of all rapes are reported to authorities, so the statistics we have available are only the “tip of the iceberg”. Women who are abused in home (verbally or physically) are unlikely to report their attacker to authorities nor leave the relationship, so an endless cycle of escalating abuse ensues…often with children being innocent onlookers (or victims themselves).
Violent acts against women can occur at any time and place, and the frequency of attacks against women in America is on the rise. This stresses the importance of learning how to identify potential threats before they occur, and learning how to defend yourself should you be the target of an assailant.
Women can be targeted at home, while traveling or shopping. Assaults against women know no age group, ethnic background, shape or size. Domestic violence against women is becoming the new “normal” in many sections of America. The use of “date rape” drugs is on the rise in many parts of the country, and makes it easier for a sexual assault to take place (while often leaving the victim with no memory of the event). Simply learning how to identify potential threats, and how to minimize your risk of being targeted is an essential “danger awareness” principle that is often neglected or overlooked in the hustle and bustle of a typical day.
Learning self-defense is important for women of all ages, and it could make the difference between being a victim or not. There are a number of good books, as well as videos and DVDs that highlight the subject, but the benefits of learning with a qualified instructor cannot be stressed enough.
A book or video can teach you self-defense techniques, but a qualified instructor can help you learn how to properly apply the techniques in a variety of situations, and correct problems in mechanics or application to make a technique more effective.
Instruction can vary, with some 1-2 hour introductory self-defense classes that teach basic countermeasures to common attack scenarios. Others, like the Women-Safe program, focus on a more holistic approach, teaching technique, applications, and providing broader “situational awareness” education in a multi-week setting.
Any type of self-defense training is better than not training at all. The important thing is for women to educate themselves about the potential dangers they face (by any and all means necessary), and learn how to take proactive steps to minimize their risk of becoming a victim. The dangers women face are real, and it is important to do something to prepare.