Once upon a time my mom was attacked in a grocery store parking lot on her way to her car. Another time my friend was attacked on her Sunday morning run through a nearby park. Another time my friend was jumped between walking out of a restaurant and getting into their Uber. Countless other times women I know routinely discuss things they don’t do or take precaution doing because men have made or are actively making them uncomfortable, like getting out of their car, riding the bus, crossing the street, preventing them from getting to where they are going or just going about their lives.
These are the everyday stories that don’t make the news and then there are the cases that do make the news like my friend, like Mollie Tibits, like countless other stories where women fall victim to predators because they were simply existing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Inside each of us is a little voice that tells us “don’t cross the street here, don’t make eye contact, don’t make this situation worse by engaging” that voice is your gut protecting you with survival instincts. To make this voice louder and more obvious, put your phone away when you’re walking anywhere so you are better able to pay attention to your surroundings. You automatically make yourself a much less desirable pray when you look like you will have plenty of time to run away or time to prepare to fight back. Your gut is smart, listen to what it’s trying to tell you.
Take extra precaution and prepare in advance for what you would do in the event someone did try to attack you. The worst thing to happen to you becomes much less scary when you have thought about it before and have practiced how to win. How many times have you broken a promise you made to yourself when you found yourself feeling unsafe in some situation a man or person looked like they were going to go crazy and you were in the wrong place at the wrong time thinking “I am not prepared for this” and then decided you would fix that as soon as you had the time and space and then “forgot”, but really you just didn’t know where to start to follow through on that. It’s a vicious circle, I’ve been there myself. Before creating a handbag I loved I thought, “well, there’s no handbags I want on the market, maybe I’ll get to create one someday when I’m retired and have the time”. UNACCEPTABLE EXCUSES! You have the opportunity to never feel unsafe and unprepared again.
Do your past and future self a favor and Google: Self defense class + [your area] and find a class near you. Maybe try Krav Maga as that’s the most common nationwide, you can also if you’re interested consider Jiu Jitsu, boxing, or Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and train regularly, however not necessary if you just master the basics. Some women take one class and find they love it, whatever works best for you though. If there is nothing check out some tutorials online and try to solicit a friend or partner to practice with. You can start with searches like “how to break free from a wrist hold”, “how to escape a grab from behind” and see what other related comes up. I promise it won’t take more than 10 minutes (although more is certainly encouraged).
Alternatively if you would like to carry a self-defense tool like I did, you can carry a taser, pepper spray or gun, you can find a bunch of different varieties that will fit inside a Parker Handbag. You should still Google some tutorials so you know how to use them correctly but it’s offered me endless peace of mind that should I get attacked I am never unprepared either with my body or my handbag.