Friday, March 1, 2013

Get Your Kubotan On

Last weekend I was lucky enough to participate in a self defense workshop at the studio. We were eight women led by a former fire captain and anti-terrorism expert. He lectured for a while. We learned where we should and should not park, that it is not okay to let your guard down once you're in your car, and a little bit about the mentality of a rapist - which apparently is more about utter hatred than it is about control.

Here are some things you should know about rape and sexual assault:

  • Three out of four women attacked, knew their attacker. Please don't misinterpret this to think that you will not be attacked by a stranger.
  • Attackers look for women who are distracted. Get out your keys before you go outside and walk directly to your car. No playing on your phone.
  • Parking structures are actually safer than outdoor parking. Parking structures typically have cameras everywhere. You may think outdoors, it's easier for you to get away, but it's also easier for your attacker to flee, or worse, grab you and flee
  • You are not safe until you drive away. Ok, you've gotten into your car. The doors are locked. The windows are up and you pull out your phone to text some friends. Attackers carry ceramic tools that, when slammed into a car window, cause the glass to break and fall away - leaving you vulnerable.
  • If you are home alone and someone knocks on the door. Don't open it - unless you are expecting that person. 
  • The first choice should always be to run

Then he passed out these 6" plastic rods to keep on our key chains for self defense called kubotans. In case you're not familiar, even if you're not trained how to use these things, if you get out your keys and you've got a kubotan on there, they're a huge deterrent to any potential attacker.

We lined up and took turns practicing how to use it, how hard to strike and in what way, and  - at the end of three and a half hours - he attacked each of us.

One at a time, we stood up in the middle of room, eyes closed, armed with a kubotan - and we had from the moment he touched us to open are eyes, and try and get away using any means necessary until we got the heck out of the room. We actually used our kubotans to injure him so that we could escape. This guy was bruised and bleeding by the time we were done. 

I highly suggest that all women get themselves a kubotan. Despite having learned some majorly scary stuff, I left with a rush of adrenalin and feeling of empowerment. In the event that I am ever attacked, I feel that I will be prepared. 

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