The Best Personal Protection Advice and Safety Tips for Woman & Teen
FIGHT BACK OR NOT?
By: Lidia Szczepanowski, Esq.
If you are the victim of an attempted assault or robbery, should you fight back?
According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service and a report prepared by the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, active resistance can decrease the chances of a completed rape by about 80 percent. The bottom line is this: If someone is just looking to take your valuables and they have a weapon, give them up. On the other hand, if an attacker is looking to sexually assault or rape you, statistics support the conclusion that you should “fight back.” Remember that active resistance could be as simple as making noise and bringing attention to yourself. This can “disrupt” the attacker’s “plan” and he may get discouraged or lose focus. If you respond with a physical counter-attack, make sure to commit to your decision because there is no turning back. And remember, your goal is to escape, not engage in a fight.
What should you do if someone pulls a gun out at you?
If that happens, you’re probably going to have to choose between “bad” and “worse”. There is no ‘right’ answer as to what you should do, just the “best” one under the circumstances since no two gunpoint situations are alike. The advice given by most safety experts is to remain calm, establish eye contact, be as compliant as you can, be aware of your surroundings, and do what you need to in order to survive. If it’s a robbery, once again, just give up your valuables. But if someone wants to kidnap you or take you as hostage, most experts agree that you should never go from point “A” to point “B” because unfortunately there is a high probability that you will be taken by the perpetrator to the scene of your own sexual or other assault and/or grave. If possible, try to stall getting into a vehicle in any way you can which might include, for example, looking past your attacker’s shoulder and nodding, giving him the impression that there is somebody behind him, bringing attention to yourself, or perhaps even pretending to faint. Again, there is no “right” answer and your best defense is to avoid the situation to begin with.
In any event, everyone should “think in advance” how they would or could react if they were attacked or if someone pulled out a gun or knife. It is important to remember that every individual attacker and situation will be different, and there is no one set of correct responses. While it is true that fighting back may cause an attacker to become even more agitated, it is important that before reacting, you listen to your gut, and let your experience and common sense kick in.
The key to safety is very simple: Education. You must arm yourself with the knowledge and tools necessary to respond to a number of different circumstances. What may work in one situation against one perpetrator may not work in another.
Safety awareness is about using your common sense, being well informed, thinking in advance, and planning ahead. “Stylish Safety”® is about looking at the world from a different perspective. It is a lifestyle and state of mind that guides women on how to avert danger and be safer by simply learning and applying a few basic principles to their lives without compromising their confidence, style, elegance and panache. Stylish Safety teaches women very effective safety tips and defensive tactics and how to incorporate them into a woman’s everyday life. Stylish Safety is also about the choices we make and how we look at things around us. Individuals who integrate Stylish Safety into their lives exude positive energy and walk with their chins up a little higher and their shoulders back a little further.
Stylish Safety has developed “T I P S” that, if followed, will significantly decrease anyone’s chances of being the victim of an attack.
Think. Ask yourself, “What would I do if…? Think about and anticipate your response/reaction beforean attack happens.
Interrupt. Try to stop the incident from starting or progressing by remembering the “DIVAS 5 Steps to Safety” as developed by Stylish Safety:
· Distraction. Pay attention to your surroundings and stay focused.
· Intuition. Always trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t;
· Vulnerability. Don‘t put yourself in a vulnerable situation.
· Assessment. Carefully analyze and assess the situation at hand and be ready to react.
· Skills. Know your weapons, natural and material, and how and when to use them, i.e., hands, fingers, feet, handbag/briefcase, ATM card, whistle, umbrella, book, etc. (The high heels of those Manolo Blahniks can be an extremely effective weapon to fight off an attacker!)
Practice. Physically rehearse how you will react and what you will do if someone grabs or attacks you.
Speed and Strength. React with purpose and force. You may have a small window of opportunity to act and even a smaller amount of time to escape.
KNOW SOME BASIC PERSONAL DEFENSIVE MANEUVERS AND TACTICS!
It takes many years of training to become proficient in any martial art, but you don’t have to be a Black Belt to be able to defend yourself. Every person should know at least a few basic yet highly effective defensive maneuvers. Here are a few.
- One of the most forceful defensive moves is a swift strike to the throat area just below the Adam’s Apple with your fingers or the side of a stiff hand. Always think “stun and run.”
- Another powerful response is to push both your hands up into the attackers chin, forcing his head to whip back.
- Yet another super effective move is to push the side/edge of your hand directly underneath the middle of someone’s nose or strike underneath the nose with your palm heel.
- Jabbing your fingers into a facial orifice such as eyes, ears and mouth can be quite successful as well.
- Finally, if you are brought to the ground, try to get up immediately. If you cannot, stay on your back keeping your body rounded with your feet up. Keep the perpetrator away by kicking your legs and feet. If a person gets on top of you while you are on your back, keep your elbows and hands up in front of your face. Then try to push the person off by bumping your pelvis up forcefully and using your hips to get him off balance. Once he falls forward, try to roll onto your side and get up.
Although the above information may seem daunting, it is important not to live in fear because confidence and a positive attitude are two of your strongest weapons. Remember to keep your eyes open and walk with your head up high and shoulders back and never compromise your personal style.So go ahead and put on your Manolos, grab your Louis Vuitton bag and arm yourself with style and safety!
Please share this article with your daughters, mothers, sisters and all the women in your lives. It may save theirs.
Lidia Szczepanowski, Esq., a practicing attorney and legal correspondent (www.AskLidiatheLawyer.com), an entrepreneurial consultant in various media outlets and personal safety expert, is the founder of the National Organization for Women’s Safety Awareness, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit (www.TheNOWSA.org), Everything Lidia, Inc. (www.EverythingLidia.com), and the nationally renowned “Stylish Safety” seminars”. She has over 16 years of martial arts training, holds a Black Belt in Karate and is currently training in mixed martial arts and the Russian martial art of Systema. Lidia also holds the titles of Mrs. Corporate America 2013, Mrs. New York International 2009 and Mrs. New York America 2006.