Safety for Women

kdwomanHi, everyone! I just finished taking the most amazing self-defense class,
sponsored by Shandwick, and I wanted to share some really valuable info with
you before it goes out of my head.

The guy who taught the class has a female friend who was attacked last year
in the parking garage at Westport Plaza in St. Louis one night after work and
taken to an abandoned house and raped. He started a women’s group and began
teaching these classes soon after. This guy is a black belt in karate and
trains twice a year with Steven Segal. He and the others in this group
interviewed a bunch of rapists and date rapists in prison on what they look
for and here’s some interesting facts:

The #1 thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most
likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid, or other hairstyle
that can easily be grabbed. They are also likely to go after a woman with
long hair. Women with short hair are as not common targets.

The #2 thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women whose
clothing is easy to remove quickly. The #1 outfit they look for is overalls
because many of them carry scissors around to cut clothing and on overalls
the straps can be easily cut.

They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse
or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard and can be
easily overpowered.

The time of day men are most likely to attack and rape a woman is in the
early morning, between 5 and 8:30 a.m. The #1 place women are abducted
from/attacked at are grocery store parking lots. The #2 place are office
parking lots/garages. The #3 place are public restrooms.

The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and
quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about
getting caught. Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5
year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.

If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it
only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t
worth it because it will be time-consuming. These men said they will not
pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used
from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to
get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to
convince these guys you’re not worth it.

Several defense mechanisms he taught us are:

* If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you
in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question,
like “What time is it?” or make general small talk, like “I can’t believe it
is so cold out here, we’re in for a bad winter.” Now you’ve seen his face
and could identify him in a lineup. You lose appeal as a target.

* If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and
yell, “Stop!” or “Stay back!” Most of the rapists this man talked to said
they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be
afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target. If you
carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it
with him wherever he goes), yelling “I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY!” and holding it out
will be a deterrent.

* If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can by
outsmarting them. If they grab your wrist, pull your wrist back so your hand
is in a waving position (palm facing forward) and twist it toward yourself
and pull your arm away. It is hard to hold onto wrist bones that are moving
in that way. They stumble toward you and you stumble back, so you can use
that momentum to bring the same out and backhand them with your knuckles in
the forehead, nose, or teeth.

* If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either
under the arm between the elbow and armpit or in the upper inner thigh ~
HARD! One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm
pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke
through the skin and tore out muscle strands – the guy needed stitches. Try
pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it. It hurts!

* After the initial hit, always go for the groin. If you hit a guy’s
testicles, it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll piss the guy
off and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our
instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble.
Start causing trouble and he’s out of there.

* When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend
them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as
possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure and I ended
up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.

Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your
surroundings, take someone with you if you can, and if you see any odd
behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel a little
silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.

Please forward this to any woman you know. It’s simple stuff that could save
her life.