Do not freak out, but 80% of all rapists are relatives, friends or acquaintances of the victim. They mostly happen in the home, office, on a date, or in a familiar environment.
Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we would do during a fire or a tornado, but what about an attack? April is “Sexual Assault Awareness” month and it is a great time to review your personal safety guidelines. If you do not have any then create some. Like you check your fire alarm battery each October (during fire safety month), everyone should have an internal monologue about their safety and learn how to aggressively, decisively & effectively fight off an attacker.
Although I can not speak for all women, I believe most have a fear of being sexually assaulted in the back of their head. Especially living in the city and enjoying all that it has to offer. So stop for a moment and think about incidents in the past few days where you possibly felt un-safe. Then think if there is something you could have done ahead of time to avoid the situation.
- Could your behavior be modified to improve your overall safety?
- Do you have a plan if an incident occurs that threatens your safety ?
- Do you know how you would react?
If the answer is “I don’t know”, I want you to think about it now. My goal is to encourage everyone to think about how to protect themselves. The easiest steps you can take is - Simply think through various attacks or common environments where your safety is compromised. This will help you better prepare and actually avoid potential danger. Although behavior modification or preventative steps will significantly increase your safety, I believe everyone should learn how to fight back.
Being prepared for an attack is much like a living will. You have to consider the possibility and move outside your comfort zone to ensure you are prepared in the event something happens. Krav Maga is a form of self-defense that uses a person’s natural instinctual reactions to an attack and builds defenses and strikes to combat the attack as effectively as possible. But self-defense starts long before the attack happens. Taking preemptive actions can deter the attacker and in many cases prevent the attack. The following are several steps you can take right away to keep yourself safer from an attack or sexual assault.
- PAY ATTENTION! Walk with your head up and be observant of your surroundings at all times. This means no texting while walking! Attackers do not drop out of thin air. Many times they follow their victims before they attack or choose someone that is clearly not paying attention.
- BE AFRAID OF THE DARK! Avoid dark streets, alleys and parking lots at all cost. Saving time or energy with a shortcut will seem ridiculous to you AFTER you’ve been attacked.
- LISTEN TO YOUR INTUITION! It’s real and it was given to you for a reason. Get off the elevator, cross the street or go into a public place if you feel even the least bit threatened or uneasy. You have nothing to lose if your wrong but it could save your life if your right. Kind of seems like a no brainer when put like that, right?
- IT’S JUST STUFF! They want your purse, your wallet, your car? Give it to them! Car insurance exists for a reason and credit cards can be cancelled. Again, in retrospect, those things will seem infinitesimal AFTER you’ve been assaulted.
- SHOUT, SHOUT! LET IT ALL OUT! Don’t be afraid to raise your voice to draw attention to a situation or person that is making you uncomfortable. We are so polite sometimes that it sets us up to be the victim. Your personal space is your personal space and you have every right to defend it, whether it’s a complete stranger or someone you know.
- FIGHT BACK! The statistics are in your favor. Most attackers are looking for a victim and not a fight. Make it hard on them and they may give up. What’s your other alternative?
- INSURE YOUR GREATEST ASSET:YOU! You have insurance for everything these days..health, car, home, dental..you name it. Life insurance is technically “death” insurance, when you think about it. Training self-defense is your “real” life insurance.
If you are interested in training further and have a desire to learn how to fight back, I will be hosting the following 6 workshops. This Spring in the City Safety Series. You can call us directly as well- 312.829.7699.
FitPro West located at 564 W Jackson. Each workshop is 90 minutes long. $40.00 each or 3 for $100.
- Wednesday, May 7th 6:30pm- Intro to Krav Maga , Self Defense
- Wednesday, May 14th, 6:30pm - Defense Against Ground Attacks
- Wednesday, May 21st, 6:30pm - Defense Against Gun Attacks
- Monday, May 19th at 7pm - Defending the Family
- Saturday, June 7th at 10am - Defense Against Knife Attack
- Tuesday, June 24th at 7pm - Self Defense for Runners
Other resources to be aware of include:
- The National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) which encourages many organizations to focus on promoting sexual violence awareness and prevention.
- The Community Counseling Centers for Chicago which offers a support system for those that have been assaulted and even parenting classes.
- The Illinois Coalition of Sexual Assault which offers 29 sexual assault crisis centers that respond to victims of sexual assault. Their staff and volunteers provide counseling, education and advocacy for victims and their families.
This blog was written by Jennifer Imig and Katalin Ogren.