A Girl’s Guide to Self-Defense

The world is shit. How’s that for an opener? 
The world is shit. People are cruel to each other, selfish, and dangerous. It’s true. Since Cain first brained his brother over a fit of jealous rage, we have lived in horrible times. We will never live in time or place where crime doesn’t happen and where being a woman isn’t a threat, especially in America.
I have been living on my own since I was 17. I left home and in almost 10 years only came home sporadically to help take care of family members. Even then though, I was going to school and/or work alone, grocery shopping alone, going to movies alone, answering doors alone, and anything else that would make me a potential target largely on my own. Like every other girl, I have been told since birth how to stay safe. “Don’t wear short skirts,.” “Park under a light” “Don’t walk in an alley” “Tell your friends when you get home” “Stay on the phone while walking” “Don’t take drinks you didn’t pour” “Don’t get in a car of someone you don’t know.” I was a neurotic, paranoid mess all through college. I watched over my friends and was the typical fat, loner hen of the group, cockblocking the shit out of all my friends. It wasn’t until later in my freshman year, when a close friend had come back from a party bleeding from between her legs, held up by her roommates that I realized a terrible fact. There is nothing you can do. She was a sensible, conservative girl who never drank too much and stayed with her friends and yet, she had been drugged and raped. 
It was several days when she told me about it. We were having a sleepover with close female friends when she described what happened. She sat down her drink, came back to it immediately and when the drugs took effect, a guy she had been dating said he’d take care of her. When her roommates came to take her home, they found her passed out with him on top of her. I was horrified. I had been aware that things like this happened all the time to women across the world but I was horrified that she didn’t want to do anything. She did not want to go to the police, to the hospital or report him to campus police. I begged her. She didn’t want to, I did what I thought was best and I supported her and her decisions. 
But.
I found a picture of the guy, I printed out a million copies of it and wrote “DO NOT DATE ME. I AM A RAPIST.” And posted it all over campus. That was all I could do. For her. For other women. For my anger. 
My point is that it doesn’t matter if you park under a light, if you wear skirts down to your ankles, if you never drink anything at a party again, people will target you. There is no proof that blondes or short women or white women get attacked more often, people attack people. I don’t want to scare anybody. I don’t believe in putting all of the blame on the victim or on the woman and not perpetrators who should be stopped, prosecuted and punished extensively. I also believe in education and that if you can’t change one thing, you have to do everything you can to protect yourself. So here are some ways to defend yourself if anything ever does. 

  • Pepper Spray

This was my mother’s gift to me when I left the house at 17, and also a bible. It was a small, black device in a leather case with a keychain, it looked like a dominatrixes lipstick case. I’ve never had to use it, but i did accidentally spray myself and let me tell you it was gnarly. 
Also called Capsaicin Spray because the active ingredient is not actually pepper but a chemical derived from a chili plant, that causes the eyes to close in temporary blindness and cause intense burning and pain. It is used by police and riot control but also in defense against wild animals and dogs. It is a non-lethal device and does not require a license to carry (except in Massachusetts). Most states require you to be over 18 years of age, but the state of Washington allows you to carry pepper spray over 14, if  you have permission from your legal guardian. Check local laws for specific legality.

Incase you needed to match your puns to your defense to your manicure.

If you are attacked, you flip up the top of the spray (that usually is a lock to prevent accident spraying), take aim at your attacker and press the trigger button. The spray is released and works immediately, the pain is VERY intense, like the hottest fucking hot sauce you’ve ever had in your life splashed into your eyes. Unless you travel a lot (you can’t bring it on planes), you should buy one, they are cheap, discrete, compact and effective. But it can be hard to find it in a purse or when you are panicking, try to attach it to a place you can grab easily. 

  • Taser

Also known as a “Stun Gun”, this device uses electroshock to incapacitate a person. There are two weapons that these come in a CED (conduit energy device) which fires probes connected through thin wires and stun guns which shock through direct contact. 
I have to admit I am really horrified by the overall effect of this weapon but I also really want one too. Jesus I’ve seen men as big as houses be reduced to crying, self defecating children. So scary. Much Taze. Wow. 
What happens is that the electrical current sent to the person paralyzes the persons muscular function, through involuntary muscular functions, sending waves of pain through the receiver body. 
This weapon while non-lethal, has still resulted in serious injury, and even death. In the United States tasers are not considered firearms and can be carried without a permit in 45 states (not including the states of DC, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. In Connecticut, Illinois and Wisconsin they are legal with some restrictions.

  • Gun

Oh . Jeez. Here we go okay… I hate guns. I hate them. I hate my culture’s obsession with weapons, with not only murdering someone but obliterating them off of the face of the earth. I think the only way you should be allowed to murder someone is with your bare hands while starring them straight in the eyes until you can see the life wade out of them. Anything else and you are a fucking coward. I think that death should be real and weigh on your soul and not by drone or scope from a building next door. I think that people have been taught to deal with minor, everyday human trivialities with guns and that fucking horrifies me. That being said. In my country we have this fucking constitutional right that any fuckwad with a trigger finger has the right to own a gun. A gun, a weapon that send a projectile the speed of sound tearing through another man’s body. Why? Who knows. Who knows how anyone could even hold something responsible for the deaths of millions of people in their hands without the fear that their arms and eyes will melt right off their bodies. If you believe that the world is such a horrible place, while simultaneously being a place that you have an indelible and undeniable place to exist that you would kill another person for your right to live in such a shit place, then get a gun.

Marissa Alexander shot *at* her husband and was incarcerated, Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ laws only work if you’re white apparently. 
There are many types of guns; shotguns, rifles, submachine guns, machine guns, handguns… I understand that some women brainwashedRepublicanwomen believe that guns make them safer as women. I can understand that. The fear of violence from men like boyfriends, husbands, partners and family members is the number one threat to women’s lives. That is real. But the idea that guns will keep you safe is a misnomer. Guns are a solution to one incident of attack that may result in the death of you or your attacker, or someone nearby, and does nothing  to change the cycle of abuse that led you to this situation. 
For those times when you don’t want anyone to sit next you in the doctor’s office.

A gun is a lethal weapon. It KILLS people. Dead. They are not coming back and if they do they are not coming back the same. You need a permit. You need to follow your local laws. With guns being as assessible as they are and the advancements being made with printable weapons, I may have to get a gun to protect myself against people with guns. 

  • Martial Arts

If you’re a woman who’s gone to college odds are that you’ve been offered a self defense class. These are usually promoted with the tag line about something about staying smart, not being a victim or how its necessary for any college freshman but how many of those campuses have you seen promote a class for men to teach them about how to prevent date rape? How many college campuses have classes that teach young men how to tell if a girls been drugged? Or what to do if their friend is an assaulter? How to help a person who has alcohol poisioning and needs help or is being taken advantage of? How to stop victim blaming and that the words “she was asking for it” should be eradicated from the human language. 

Regardless, a martial arts class is a good idea for anybody really, unless you are one of those abusive assholes that wear their gi everywhere they go and start fights with guys at bars to try and pick up girls. Those guys need to stop. I have always been interested in Judo, the skill of unarmed defense using your opponent’s body mass to defeat them. 
Damn Girl
I cannot stress enough that martials artis just that, its an art, it needs to be practiced constantly and your body needs to be trained and used to responding in those situations. Knowing martials arts isn’t just a good way to defend yourself its a good way to feel safe in any environment. You can practice to feel more confident and that confidence will prevent you from being afraid to be out in a world where you fknow the threat. 

  • Concealed Weapon (knives and such)

So you know that scene in the movie where the hero gets caught in a knife fight in an alley and theres that one guy that comes at him with a butterfly knife and he’s whipping that shit around like nobodys business and then boom the hero just punches him in the face? Yeah. You might want to thing about that if you carry around a knife. Ssing a knife as a self defense weapon is a double edged sowrd (haha!) on one hand you are carrying a dangerous tool that could be used to scare away or harm your attacker on the other hand it could be knocked out of your hand or used against you and you could be seriously injured. Knives really should only be handled by people who know what their doing but since most knifes are like totes illegal maybe you should stay away from them. 
Alley Cat Gouger its kawaii! – Pork Shop $10

When You are Bullied as an Adult

Recently I became involved in an incident where I was accused of doing something much worse than what I actually did. I realized that a certain person, who has a vendetta against me already, had set me up to look like I was guilty of doing things I didn’t do. Since I was guilty of making one mistake, it didn’t take much for people to believe I had committed all of those other things too. This person has been after me since I first met them, for reasons only they know, and has been unrelenting since that point. 
When they had their chance to take me down, they did, with speed and devastation, that is honestly, a little impressive. I was impressed at the depths to which this person went to, to try and hurt me. And it really did hurt. It hurt me deeply. I had a meeting with two people of staff, who reprimanded me, condemned me, called me a liar, entitled, an exaggerator, and a bully. This continued for over an hour, mentioning my actual mistake only in passing. I even choked up in the middle of the meeting but they did not stop their attack. It was devastating to me, and took several days to recover from. But after some time I began to think, less about me and my hurt feelings and more about what had been committed. These people had railed against me, unjustifiably, on the word of someone who has been on a campaign to ruin my reputation for a whole year. 
And this wasn’t fair. 
I apologized, took my punishment, quit my job, and promised to never come back to that place. 
But this isn’t fair. 
This person is going to get away with what they’ve put me through for about a year and will continue to do this to people for probably their entire life. Or, maybe not. I have scheduled an appointment with my dean, their boss, and the vice president of the school and also an ombudsman to talk about my options and the next course of action, of which there will be one. 
In situations like this it can be hard to navigate. When we are children we are taught not to bully and now a days there are so many anti-bullying messages going on the internet and television. But it doesn’t stop after you turn 18, there are bullies in the workplace, in college, you could even be dating or even married to a bully. Being pushed around is not okay, being manipulated is not okay, being intimidated is not okay and no one should have that power over you. 
As adults we don’t cry, we stuff things down or try to rationalize about what we are experiencing, or convince ourselves that we have to go through this to not cause waves (like I did), but it’s more than that. This person is taking away your dignity, your sense of self, and your power and no one NO ONE should have that power over you. 
Stand up for yourself. You’ve got to. There’s no way around it. But adults, unlike children, are capable of hurting you in ways that are much more detrimental so you have to be smart. What are your resources? Who has authority over this person? Who could you report to that will not make it back to them? How could you make sure that you won’t be caught up in their vindictive drama? Do you have a record of their treatment? Document incidents that you could use in your favor. 
If you are constantly doing something for this person because you are intimidated by them, stop, you’ve got to stop. Avoid them, tell them you have other things to do, or better yet, tell them you are done being used and break it off. Don’t apologize, don’t make up an excuse, you don’t owe that to them, and stand tall with your chin high and stare right into their eyes. You don’t owe them anything, it’s your decision to change your mind and they should respect that. But they probably won’t, because bullies are people who lack respect.
Be consistent, you can’t be firm with them once and never again. Like a child or a dog, bullies won’t respect you if you don’t stand your ground every time. Don’t let them get away with things no matter how small, call them out on their bullshit and don’t just take their shit. You don’t need to stoop to their level but call them out on it, point out the flaws they wish so eagerly to bring out in you. 
This asshole should not have control over you, your life and your decisions. It’s not your fault, people have their own fucked up reasons to do the things they do especially when they are cruel and senseless. People are cruel to people who have something in them they either want or don’t like in themselves. Perhaps this person doesn’t like your strength and wants you to be beneath them like everyone else or they won’t feel important. You shouldn’t have to devote any more energy to them and they need to be put in their place.
I wish you luck.

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