The following article is a Guest post by Leah Oviedo.
“Why would you want to fight back? You are just a girl, after all.”
You’re too pretty and sweet to fight.”
“It’s not like you can defend yourself against a man; they are stronger.”
These are words people actually said to me and these weren’t just from men. The idea that women are meant to be nice and not fight is an old and tired, but still popular opinion. I urge everyone, female and male to take a self defense class. As long as violence is a part of life, we need to know self defense. Our instincts already tell us to fight or flight. It is important to always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Sometimes there is no where to go or nobody to help you, so knowing basic self defense moves is important.
If you are being followed pull out your cell phone and call someone. If your cell phone is dead pull it out anyway and pretend to speak into it. Walk into a crowded and or well lit area. If you feel you are in danger, call the police. Talk to a manager or employee if you are in a business establishment. Let someone know whenever you are going out alone. Stay away from isolated areas.
When you are out in public alone or with friends it is important to stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings. When you walk into a building or room check to see what other exits are available. Any drink including water can be spiked with a tasteless odorless drug. Do not leave your drink unattended and keep an eye on your friends’ drinks as well. If you are drinking alcohol this will impair your ability to make smart choices and protect yourself. A valuable rule to follow is only drink with friends you trust.
In some cases you may need to physically defend yourself. The first action I learned in class was the freeze stance. Stand up tall and plant your feet shoulder length apart. State loudly and clearly, “Stop” or “Get Back.” This gives your attacker a chance to pause and reconsider whether or not he wants to mess with you. It also stabilizes your body for when he grabs or hits you. If the attacker attempts to grab you or grabs one arm, try the palm strike. Use your free arm to thrust the palm of your hand into their cheek, chin, eyes or nose. If your attacker has both your arms, try the groin kick. Kick the attacker in the groin area with your foot or use your knee. At this point you can try the head to knee stun. If the attacker is doubled over in pain grab their head and pull your knee up to hit and stun them. At any point when you are free from your attacker run for help. Yell if you need to. The most important thing to do is get to a safe place where the assailant cannot follow you. Memorize the four basic moves: the freeze stance, the palm strike, the groin kick and the head to knee stun.
Fighting is a last resort that should only be used if you are in physical danger. Remember that you are important and you deserve to be safe and treated with respect. You are your own best defense.
Leah Oviedo is an artist, author and activist in southern California. She has published two books on self empowerment and operates separate websites for empowering youth small business owners. Learn more at http://writewhatuknow.wordpress.com/about/