Self protection tips for women
Recent national data on violence against women in Australia comes from two major surveys. The Personal Safety Survey, conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (a national survey of 16,400 adults in Australia aged 18 and over) (ABS 2006). And The Australian component of the International Violence Against Women Survey, conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology (a national survey of 6,677 women in Australia aged 18-69) (Mouzos & Makkai 2004).
Australian Women’s Lifetime
Experience of Violence
The Personal Safety Survey provides data on Australian women’s lifetime experiences of violence (since the age of 15). In Australia:
• Close to half of all women (40%) have experienced violence since the age of 15; • Just under one third of women (29%) have experienced physical assault;
• Nearly one in five women (17%) have experienced sexual assault; • Nearly one in six women (16%) have experienced violence by a current or previous partner in their lifetime;
• Since the age of 15, one third of women (33%) have experienced inappropriate comments about their body or sex life, one quarter (25%) have experienced unwanted sexual touching, and one in five (19%) have been stalked (ABS 2006).
The single most important step in conflict avoidance is knowing where NOT to be. The ability to recognize potentially dangerous situations is more than just common sense. It is a learned skill that should be practiced.
At Black Belt Martial Arts we talk about three types of people when we discuss personal safety. The first person is absolutely convinced that there is someone hiding around every corner. This person is paranoid. The second person is absolutely convinced that there is no one around the corner this person is naive. The third person thinks that there might be someone waiting around the corner, so they take the appropriate precautions. This person is a careful person. If we can get into the habit of being aware of our surroundings and always “consciously” being as careful as possible, we will be much less likely to be confronted violently.
Obviously, the best way to stay safe is to avoid danger whenever possible. But, this is not always possible and at BBMA we believe all women should empower themselves with the skills of the martial artist to protect themselves and their families. My daughter is 16 and a black belt in karate, in our family training in martial arts to build the confidence and techniques to keep yourself safe have always been as important in learning to swim to prevent drowning.
Your First Line of Defence
Top of our safety tips list is to always use your common sense and trust your instinct, it's there for a reason. If a situation is uncomfortable then get out of there as quickly as possible. A high percentage of women who fight back get away... Don't think it can never happen to you.
Awareness is Half the Battle
Many attackers will look for vulnerable women especially in vulnerable places- For example, easier targets to overpower would be women talking on mobiles/ looking through handbags/ wearing headphones while jogging etc. Many abductions occur in shopping centre and work car parks/ underground car parks. Hitch-hiking is obviously dangerous. A high percentage of rape victims knew their attacker, keep alert and trust your instincts.
Be Calm and Breathe
In order to think clearly and logically in an intimidating situation, it is important to become calm. The easiest way to maintain a calm disposition is to take slow, deep breaths, rather than the fast, shallow breaths that usually accompany an emotional outburst. This is a skill that can be learnt and must be practiced
Communicate with Confidence
Studies have shown that most people who are the victims of violent crime send out some sort of “signal” saying that they are vulnerable. Their body language conveys the idea that they are weak and easily intimidated. Confident people always look people in the eye, (especially when first meeting someone), they have good posture, walk with purpose, speak clearly and confidently (but not arrogantly) and appear alert and aware of their surroundings.
The Mind-Your Primary Defensive Tool
One of the key elements in self defence is a good mindset. It is also in the mind where the battle is usually won and lost. You must have the proper mindset to SURVIVE. Learning and drilling the skills is one part but being able to make decisions and take right action while experiencing fear is another. You must believe you are worth fighting for.