Verbal Self Defense – A Critical Factor in Self Defense for Women
by: Michelle Annese
Verbal self defense, the use of your voice in a threatening situation, is an extremely important tool in protecting yourself. How? Uncommon to popular belief, criminals do not pounce on an individual when the mood strikes them. They attack when they see an opportunity available to them. If it’s easy, they will take it. They will prey on those who are weak, unaware, and an uncomplicated target. Criminals will act on premeditation, or stalk their victims ahead of time before attacking. If you show that you are familiar with your surroundings, walk with confidence, and give off the impression of strength, a criminal will not want to work to fight you.
Keep you eyes on everyone. Just because they might not ‘look’ like an attacker, doesn’t mean that some guy in a business suit can’t be one. If someone is approaching you, look them in the eye, hold out your hands in front of you and yell “Stay Back!” or “Stop!” Most sexual assailants interviewed say that they leave a woman alone if she showed that she wasn’t someone to be messed with or wasn’t afraid to fight back.
It’s called putting up a verbal boundary or verbal self defense. Many who have used this as part of their self defense training say they were amazed when they stepped toward a threatening stranger and yelled “Back Off!” in a strong, assertive, projecting voice. And the would-be assailant did just that.
Using pepper sprays can work in the same manner. Just by aiming at a potential attacker and yelling, “I have pepper spray!” can be a deterrent. That’s if it is in your hand at the time.
Pepper sprays are only effective if properly used. Telling your would-be assailant that you have pepper spray… and it’s at the bottom of your purse is not effectively using it, or any weapon or self-defense product, for that matter. Whether its mace, a stun gun, or even your keys, have it readily available, in your hand. More self defense products can be found online at on this great website www.safetyquestproducts.com
Knowing how to use these devices also plays a huge role in protection. You must know how the device works and be familiar with it. How? Practice. Practice. Practice.
When using mace, go outside and shoot a tree. See how the pepper spray really works. See the distance it takes to reach a target. If you’re going to use your keys, pre-plan ahead of time just exactly where on an attacker you would jab them. The eyes and throat are terrific targets. Tell yourself, “I will use this if I feel my life is in danger – No Question.” and without hesitation.
There are places that actually have computer simulated mace practice rooms. They are extremely life-like. These are the same simulation rooms that police and security officials use for their own training. Check with you local law enforcement to see if they are available in your area.
This type of training helps to program the mind during adrenal-stress. Or another form is called Body Alarm Reaction (B.A.R). You must train the mind with a stressful situation or adrenaline response to know just how you will react during an actual confrontation or attack. How you react in a B.A.R. moment will let you know if you’ll hesitate in a life or death situation.
Knowing how verbal self defense works can be a terrific safety tool for preventing you from falling prey to an approach of a stranger. Verbal self defense is also another way to build your confidence in yourself. It allows women to see the power of their voice, the protection they can have from their voice, and to not feel threatened by anyone.
About The Author
Michelle Annese is a 3rd degree black belt with 15+ years experience teaching industry specific self defense and safety for women and children. She is author of The Realtor Survival Guide, Protection for Women, and The SafeGuard System for Kids. For more information on how to protect yourself and your family go to http://www.protectionforwomen.com. Check out other articles by Ms. Annese and get her free safety tips e-newsletter.
This article was posted on January 28, 2005