By Adrienne Kristine
Women sometimes talk about using their intuition and trusting their instincts to protect themselves when they travel alone. One of the reasons I drive a motorhome is to avoid having to go out to go in. When I stop, I leave the keys in the ignition and check the surrounding area before I leave the RV. If I see or feel the slightest threat, I can drive away.
Everyone is familiar with the phrase, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Women sometimes forget their gift of intuition and let themselves fall into the trap of ignoring a potential problem until it’s too late.
Here are my basic rules of self-protection based on 25 years of teaching classes on the subject to women from 8 years old to 66.
The primary factor in self-protection (not self-defense) is awareness.
Preparation is key.
The first preparation is mental: WHAT IF?
The second is emotional: WHY ME?
The third is psychological: WILL I?
The fourth is physical: CAN I?
If you choose to turn and walk away, be aware of your surroundings and means of escape.
If there is no escape and you are forced to defend yourself, remember as much as you can about the environment. Place your back against a wall if you can.
Maintain eye contact (you may be required to identify the perpetrator). The first person to look away usually loses.
The first assertion is verbal: distraction, diversion, humor, confusion, explanation, etc.
If assertion is unsuccessful, use aggression.
First, escalate the verbal aggression by raising the voice.
Second, invade the social space of the other(s).
At no time should the other person(s) be touched in any way — yet. Physical aggression on your part will be met by reciprocal action.
If you have tried all the above, you must be prepared to defend yourself. You will probably injure the other person or persons and may injure yourself in order to avoid possible life-threatening damage.
If the other person(s) are prepared to injure you, they have little to lose.
NEVER underestimate your opponent(s).
After any traumatic encounter such as that described above, seek a competent therapist or support group. This is also part of self-protection.