Written by: Cally Worden
It’s a situation we all hope we never experience – being attacked while out alone. The choice of fight-or-flight is one that only you can make. Everyone reacts differently in stressful situations. You may panic, or you may freeze. Far from exposing yourself to more danger, statistics show that those victims who do put up a fight are more likely to escape, or suffer less injury than those who don’t. This is backed up by evidence from convicted attackers who acknowledge that they prefer to target weak, vulnerable women who are unlikely to cause a problem.
Thinking in advance about how you could physically defend yourself, even how to fight off an attacker can help prepare you for the worst. Being aware of your options may just be enough to trigger your inner-fight into action when you most need it. Here are some things you can think about today that may come in handy sometime, although I sincerely hope you never need them.
You may imagine that during an attack the future will be the last thing on your mind. Women who have successfully fended off attackers often relate how it was their determination to gather evidence against the perpetrator that helped them through. It is notoriously difficult to convict attackers without sound physical evidence. Focusing on acquiring crucial DNA has helped many women scare off their attacker, some even endured a less prolonged attack as a result. Examples of DNA targeting include:
1. Scratching your attacker- this leaves marks on their body and skin traces under your nails
2. Pulling out their hair
3. Aiming to catch saliva, blood and other bodily fluids on your clothes of they are released by your attacker
Anything that produces blood or other fluids from your attacker carries with it the risk of potential exposure to things like HIV, so biting to break the skin in not advised.
Self-defence experts help women learn not only to defend themselves, but also how to go on the offensive. Top tips in addition to those mentioned above include:
1. Poking fingers in the eyes – soft and incredibly sensitive, the eyes are the perfect stop-them-in-their-tracks target when you are being attacked
2. Ear biting – your jaw has one of the strongest sets of muscles in your body. Snacking on your attacker may not appeal but if you can bite down hard on their ear and shake your head violently the pain caused is intense, this may buy you enough time to get away, while securing strong physical evidence against your attacker too
3. Aim to confuse – disorientating your attacker is a good way to prompt them to give up the fight. Convicted attackers say that when a victim makes life difficult for them it’s often simpler to give up and walk away. Kicking, punching, scratching and generally moving about as much as possible are all good ways to break down the will of an attacker to continue
4. The Pen Jab – sharp objects can hurt a lot if targeted in the right place on the body. Jabbing your attacker with a pen or key in the face or side of the neck could have the desired effect
5. Keep your distance – the closer you are physically to your attacker the easier it is for him to control you. Maintain a distance if at all possible by kicking in the knees or groin. If you do end up close that’s when the scratching, biting, and fingers-in-the-eye skills are useful
As ever, the best defence against attack is to avoid it altogether. Not always possible, but you can help to keep yourself safe by limiting the times you are alone with a stranger. Not taking ill-considered short cuts and walking confidently with your head held high. Tuck that Smartphone away in your bag until you get home. Being alert and aware of your surroundings is one of the best ways to stay safe and deter potential attackers. The texts can wait.