I’ve recently come across two different articles giving “advice” to women about self-defense… both of them absolutely abysmal.
The first was an article from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs that advised women facing a rapist to either urinate or vomit in order to ward off the threat.
The second, a publication given out at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, advised women it’s probably best to just submit when faced with a rape!
What I tend to find is that self-defense industry people don’t want to face facts about violence.
- Violence against women remains one of the most common human rights abuses in the world. Women ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined.
- A study commissioned by the National Justice Institute (NIJ) in 2005 stated that 1.9 million women – million! — are physically assaulted annually in the US.
- Only an estimated 16% of rapes are reported in the US — which of course means the reality is much, much scarier.
These statistics are well known and well understood by anyone who has spent any time looking at this issue. But many in the self defense industry miss the most significant angle of these statistics: We have failed as a society to teach our women to defend themselves from our men when unavoidable violence is imminent.
I agree most potential violence can be avoided. Most falls under what I call “anti-social aggression”. These are opportunities where you have a choice about whether you participate in violence. ‘My ego’s hurt, so I’m going to come back at you.’ An example is road rage or the typical bar fight. These are avoidable, survivable and can be solved using social skills.
Many trainers and so called “experts” lump all situations into this category and go on about how if you use violence you may face criminal charges. I always looked at that as a failure of the instructor/system to clearly define avoidable versus unavoidable situations prior to beginning any training.
However, there are times of “asocial violence”. These are the times nobody likes to talk about. Times when disengaging or reasoning with the assailant is simply not an option. Violence is unavoidable. Devoid of choice and facing imminent violence you need to know specifically how to injure the other guy, including knowing how to kill your attacker if that’s what it takes to save your own life.
Talking while he is raping isn’t a good equation, not to mention talking to him while he is punching, stabbing, or bludgeoning you. Engaging the asocial predator socially could potentially be a death sentence.
Facing an asocial predator, someone who is trying to hurt you, demands action. You need to be able to injure them to save your life. It’s knocking a man down and kicking him to death. It’s pulling the gun and firing round after round into him until he goes down and then stepping in close to make sure the last two go through the brain.
If you’re a sane, socialized person, those images make you physically ill. That’s because you recognize them for what they are–asocial violence. The breakdown of everything we humans hold dear, the absence of our favorite construct, the very fabric of society itself. It’s an awful place where there’s no such thing as a ‘fair fight’ or reasoning.
After attempting to avoid these situations at all cost, you need to know how to generate effective results instantaneously under those very grim circumstances, which simply cannot be avoided.
Think I’m ranting? Here’s a quote that Mike Murphy, Las Vegas Medical Examiner, gave me for my book, Survive The Unthinkable: A Complete Guide To Women’s Self-Protection:
“Don’t use half-measures! Half-measures only help me solve your murder… by giving me DNA and other clues. Make sure you hurt the other guy because then you get to talk to the police as a survivor!”
Regardless of your gender when it comes to Asocial Violence, it’s imperative we use assumptions which align with real-world experience. This means we assume:
- He’ll always be bigger, faster & stronger than we are,
- He’ll bring weapons with him, and
- He’ll have one or more of his evil buddies there with him.
My pro-citizen views on self-protection have already gotten me booted from teaching this information to residents in one country.
However, while the rest of the industry continues to avoid the facts, violence against women will silently continue at the staggering pace it has reached. I think we need to continue to focus on giving the young women of our society the necessary tools to avoid all the avoidable threats yet ALSO have the skills necessary to protect themselves should it be unavoidable.
Wishing the world were the way it should be rather than dealing with the way it is results in far too many women being victimized by violence.