In today’s uncertain world where psychos and criminals walk the streets along with ordinary people, it is especially important that women be extra-careful. Unfortunately, women are often more subject to attacking, and them being weaker than a man, they are also more vulnerable. This is why women need to be aware of their weaknesses and must spend time learning some techniques and practice applying them. For more safety tips, see our article on using tactical pens to defend yourself.
In this article we will share a list of tips and techniques for self-defense for you (women) in the hopes that they will provide you with the means to defend yourself. Be aware that there are hundreds of tips on self-defense but many of them contradict the common sense. We compiled tips and techniques, which are recommended by military and defense personnel.
Prepare yourself mentally and have a plan
Mental preparation is the first step to actually accepting the possibility of a violent attack to happen to you. As the statistics about women being raped or violated keep piling up, you need to be aware that these things happen. You may say to yourself that this won’t happen to you, but this is just a wishful thinking. Denial won’t get you far into defending yourself when the need arises. While accidents (hurricanes, plane and car crashes, earthquakes, etc.) happen, the mental preparation will get you almost half-way ahead of the crowd.
The mental preparation goes hand-in-hand with coming up with a plan. An easy start is to take some self-defense course or seminar, or at least watch some videos (we will show you some such later). You need to train both the body and mind. Visualize your self-defense techniques, practice them with a friend or partner (if you don’t attend training courses). Roll in your mind different scenarios, and even discuss with a female friend on scenarios she can come up with. Collaborate and practice together.
A final tip – don’t ignore your intuition. All creatures – animals and humans – have it, but with animals this is called instinct. We call it intuition. As we’re too much relying on our intellect, we often neglect what our intuition as a result. So, if you have a bad feeling, or feel uncomfortable for no apparent reason, be alert.
Observe your surroundings
You need to be observant, and anything which prevents you from being fully focused and aware of your surroundings, people, etc. should be removed. For example, don’t listen to music in public places or when you’re out jogging. If something troubles you, don’t spend too much time talking on the phone. Avoid getting distracted by your tech devices.
If you suspect you have a follower, try to lose him by suddenly crossing the street or go into a store. Surprise the suspect. They may not expect it, and because they don’t like taking unnecessary risks, this may discourage them from pursuing you further.
How not to look like a victim
Criminals usually pick women by the way they look, what clothes they wear, their hairstyle and their overall appearance. If they look distracted and totally unaware of other people watching them, they are a much easier target. Women with long hair, pony tail and braid are also making them vulnerable – the criminal can easily pull the braid or pony tail and tip you off balance.
Also, skirts, dresses and straps can be removed quickly or cut easily. Don’t become an easy target. If the criminal decides that you may be a tough nut to crack, they will be discouraged from assaulting you.
Tips for being car smart
Parking lots are especially appealing for predators. Once you approach your car or linger a bit too long inside, anyone can go in the car and even pull a gun asking you to drive. So, once you’re out of the building/store, pull your keys immediately until you’re close to the car. Don’t unlock it too early, because someone may get into it before you see them. Unlock the car once you can touch the door handle.
When you go inside the car, immediately lock the doors and drive. Don’t stay in the parking spot with unlocked doors, or you become too easy a target. Statistics show that many women become victims exactly on parking lots. Don’t text in your car! If you see a suspicious person in a car or truck next to the driving seat of your car, don’t approach it. Ask a police officer or someone to walk with you to your car. Use your keys (for stabbing) in case you need to defend yourself.
In the case someone is already in your car by the time you’re in the driving seat, and they pull a gunn at your head, telling you to drive off, don’t do it! This means you’ll drive to the second location, and you may have slim to no chances of escape.
So, don’t drive off! Instead, crash the car somewhere close by. Just, speed the car and crash it. You will be saved by the air bag, but the person in the back seat may be roughed up pretty badly. Of course, there is a risk to this tactic, because the person may accidentally pull the trigger. Be smart, and apply this tactic only if you’re certain you can avoid accidental shooting.
The behavior – how to recognize if it’s dangerous
There’s a book called The Gift of Fear, written by Gavin de Becker. In his book, he talks about the behavior of predators and criminals. As most of them don’t specifically want to hurt you, they will begin by luring you into an isolated secluded area and push you to submit to them. Now, in order to prevent this second stage (which may turn worse than you think), you need to stay aware of controlling behavior.
Here’s how to recognize it.
- They team with you, pretending to understand how difficult something is (those grocery bags are heavy!).
- They will be polite and charming, by offering some help.
- They will begin explaining in too much detail (which isn’t true) why they are here, that they lost their keys, they are late for a party, the locked their car, etc.
- They will sometimes even employ the ‘typecasting’ technique, in which they use a friendly insult (‘Don’t be silly, let me help you.’).
- They may imply you need to return the favor (if they helped you with something), and thus try to get to your house for seemingly innocent reasons (to leave the grocery bags in your kitchen).
- They will promise something that was never asked of them. For example, if they leave the groceries, they will promise that they will leave immediately afterwards.
- They refuse to comply with your objections and ignore your ‘No’s’.
Unfortunately, this incident with the groceries was true and because the woman didn’t see all the above indications that this person isn’t to be trusted, she was raped. This story can be found in the book.
Go for action
If it comes to physical contact, you will need to act. A few areas on the body are vulnerable enough, so that you can try to use them in order to escape. If you’re attacked from behind, use your elbow (it is the strongest part of your body) and hit the predator. Aim for the face and throat. If you have clear access (be sharp and observe the predator’s moves) kick them in the groin or knees. These are his most vulnerable areas (especially the groin).
If he has exposed his armpits or inner part of the arm, pinch the skin as hard as you can. It’s been said that if you do it hard enough you can even tear the muscles. If you’re still not assaulted, but cornered, and the predator is close to you, grab the groin and squeeze, twist, pull, etc. as hard as you can. It may mutilate their private parts, but at least they can’t rape you as a result (and may not be able to it to someone else in the future).
Furthermore, whenever you have the chance to kick or hit, do it as hard as you possibly can. Don’t miss that chance. If you don’t give your all, it may be the last chance you have. Men are physically stronger than women, and if they get angry, it may get dirty. Don’t let the situation escalate beyond control, and fight. Statistics show that women who fight have much higher chances of escaping (and they do), than women who resisted less vigorously.
Stay away from the second location
The second location is the spot where the predator may try to lead you to. If you think you have higher chances of escape by complying with the predator, you will be wrong. Most women who agreed to go to the second location, sometimes don’t make it back. If the predator threatens you with a gun or knife, try to escape. It depends on where you are. If you’re in a public spot, they won’t shoot or hurt you (unless they don’t estimate the risks).
Run if you have to. Don’t be afraid if they shoot. If you run in a zig-zag pattern, their chances of hitting you are from slim to zero. Hitting vital organs is also highly unlikely.
Be cautious while on vacation
Women are often assaulted while on vacation as well. If you will be traveling alone, you will need to be even more careful. Don’t let anyone (whom you don’t know or trust) know that you’re alone. Yet, make sure that your close friends or relatives know where you’re going. If you suspect someone following you, you can even make a call and explain shortly the situation. Stay alerted though and don’t lose your follower from sight. Make sure you’re not exposing yourself, while talking on the phone.
While in the hotel – ask for two keys, and explain that you are waiting for your husband or boyfriend. If someone is listening, they will know you’re not alone (even if that’s not true). Don’t leave your keys in the room, while you’re not there and the maid is cleaning the room. Someone may pick it while she’s not looking. Make sure to always lock the door, when you’re inside and don’t let anyone in if you don’t know or trust them. If they claim to be hotel personnel, call the front desk as a way to confirm it.
Stay safe at home as well
Home is usually our safe haven, but if you are not smart as how to stay safe in your home, assault may occur. Don’t ignore the advice to always lock the door, even if it’s daytime. Don’t make it easy for the criminal to get inside. If you have an alarm or dog(s), they will give out plenty of noise. This usually discourages predators from picking that particular home.
If you don’t have any alarm systems, beside your car, have the car keys close by, and if you suspect an intruder, activate the car alarm. Don’t leave windows open when unattended, especially if you have a large house, and you can’t observe all the rooms and windows. Someone may sneak in, while you’re not looking.
Techniques to apply in the case of physical assault
In case it comes to physical assault, and you can’t escape, there are a bunch of techniques you can apply in order to slightly injure or distract the predator, so as to have a minute for escape.
As they grab your hands, you can swerve and rotate your arms so that your elbow (right or left) can hit him in the face. If they grab you from behind and your hands aren’t free, move to the side with your legs, and lock his feet, and as he slightly loses balance, hit him in the face, groin or knee. To see the complete list of these techniques, watch this 7 Self Defense Moves on YouTube.
Another useful technique is called ‘The Shrimp’. It may literally save you from being raped. If you’re pinned to the ground and the rapist is on top of you, you can twist (shrimp) your body, pushing slightly with one of your legs and slide to the side. In the mean time, you put your other leg on the hips of the rapist.
If your hands are free push the rapist – keep your arms straight and on his shoulders. As you twist, put one arm on the elbow and put your other leg on the other side of his hips. This is where he won’t be able to move. Even if he pushes towards you, your legs are stronger than his hips, and he’ll have to back off. When he does, immediately begin kicking the weak areas – face, head, chin, throat, groin, stomach. You will leave him defenseless and will be able to escape.
To see the actual techniques, watch this Self Defense technique on YouTube.
In another scenario, you may be leaning against a wall in a party, or on the street, and if someone approaches you, you can definitely push them. If they don’t get aggressive straightaway, you can use a technique which requires very little force. You can use the hollow area right below the throat, where the rib cage begins.
With your two fingers push into the area and push your fingers down, as if you’re trying to hook the aggressor. This will hurt a lot and will choke them for a while. In the meantime, don’t waste time and kick the guy in the groin or other vulnerable areas. For detailed explanation on this technique, see the Self Defense – Back Against The Wall video on YouTube. For the best martial arts self-defense techniques, see our article tackling this subject.
And finally, if it ever happens that someone tries to choke you from behind with a belt or a rope, you should make sure not to just pull away from the attacker, because this will give you only a few seconds of consciousness. As oxygen is prevented from getting to your brain, you will faint.
To avoid that, as the attacker jumps on you and begins choking you, turn around fast and hit him in the face or throat. You need to be sharp fast, but it is still a plausible way of escaping such a surprise attack. Watch the practice here – Defense Against a Choke from Behind.
We strongly encourage you to take self defense classes and watch more YouTube videos, and of course practice. Your body needs to memorize these moves and it won’t happen if you just watch or read the moves. Get your body to experience them.
The body has its own memory, so practice often with friends or take special training classes. You don’t want to leave your defense to the chance. So don’t wait until it’s too late. While the topic is unsettling, don’t avoid it, because denial or ignorance won’t protect you.
See our article on the best self defense techniques to empower you in any situation.