What Is Personal Safety and Why Do “I” Need It?

October 23, 2009

In the recent past there have been numerous media reports of victims of various ages (Dawn Fraser, Megan Onorato and Jordan Ward) of different types of assaults that have warded off their assailant(s). It is heart breaking as we read or hear daily of the epidemic of assaults on females. But when I hear the news that a victim survived by fighting back it instills in me once again that it is better to do something rather than nothing. Sadly there are reports and evidence indicating that a victim did fight back (Annie Le, Denise Amber Lee) but was overpowered and succumbed at the hands of her assailant.

Years ago I can remember that females were advised not to fight back if assaulted as it would make matters worse. Still today there are many people that believe this. From my own personal experience – YOU MUST FIGHT BACK! Reflecting back to my assault, if I had not fought back breaking free from the grip of my assailant’s hands around my throat, I would not be alive today. I was never taught anything about intuition, awareness, warning signs, how to use my mind, body or spirit to “defend myself”. All I knew at that moment in time and deep inside was that I had to escape. I had to survive. I had to fight back! “INSTINCTIVELY” I FOUGHT BACK WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING! Yes, I was hurt physically, emotionally and mentally; I was bruised and sore and I had a journey ahead of myself that would impact the rest of my life.

Today it is imperative for every female of all ages including those disabled and those with special needs to acquire and retain “life skills” beyond those to assist us in making our dreams comes true. No one likes the words “self-defense, personal safety, safety skills” and why is that?

Personal safety is not all warm and fuzzy. Learning life saving skills of any kind is uncomfortable for many. The thought of being assaulted is gut wrenching and the fear that it brings to the surface is real. You have to be taught how to embrace your fear, making it your best friend. You have to understand what intuition is. You must learn how to escape effectively. And, yes…..you have to learn how to physically defend yourself if you need to. You have to be taught and experience the “warrior mentality and spirit”. You do have every right to protect and defend yourself if you are in fear for your life.

First and foremost, “personal safety” is not martial arts training. It is not fighting, it is not a sport, it IS about obtaining physical skills or taking a course to learn how you can protect and defend yourself. Personal safety is part of “life skills”. Many feel that learning personal safety is empowering – in actuality it’s about how to effectively and quickly end an attack with minimum damage to you. In personal safety training you are not trained to stay in there for ten rounds, females do not fight with strength – we fight with knowledge. Learning skills to mentally and verbally deescalate a situation can be life saving in itself.

Females are seeking information on how to stay safe by being proactive and/or how to effectively fight back physically. We do not have years to study and to train in order to feel more secure. Personal safety is a conscious, proactive approach to life. It is comprised of a series of both learned and inherent behavioral and cognitive options, awareness and intuition that can be used to avoid an altercation/attack. Training should include boundary setting information, verbal communication, safety tips and a series of physical personal safety options which could be used as a last resort if you were to encounter a physical altercation. The physical techniques taught should be geared to the age group and the ability to learn easily and effectively. Instructors (males and females) should be certified in a specific system. Only male instructors should use “realistic” padded gear for “true life” scenario physical training; hence you can feel the impact of your defense as well as the instructor. Instructors must have the ability to physically feel your defense so that if you need further assistance or instruction it can be addressed at that moment. Training should also offer “realistic or real life” situations using what is readily available to you (your mind and body).

Keep in mind that there is not one type of personal safety training that can give you a 100% guarantee – there are no guarantees. Anyone can be victimized. Once you have completed a course it’s up to you to put the information you obtained and trained with to work for you in your day-to-day life.

Your ability to effectively use the physical defense training options that you learn will be dependent upon your ability to remember what you learned and your willingness to practice. You must practice with intensity and regularity what you have learned.

Perhaps now you have a better understanding why it is imperative for females to obtain personal safety training and how to go about seeking a program for you, your loved ones, friends, and colleagues.

Those of us that have either lived through an assault, witnessed a family member or friend assaulted or worked as a certified advocate can tell you that the emotional, mental and physical damage that is a direct result of abuse or an assault just may have been spared if perhaps personal safety had been incorporated into her daily life.

How much is your life worth?

Take care and STAY SAFE!

The above post is from the newest site to hit the blogsphere for “Survivors of violent crime.” I am honored to have been invited as a contributor to this unque site.

Time’s Up! is a collection of bloggers who are champions for victims of crime. Through this group we hope to bring awareness to the injustices to victims and to search out solutions with an SOS to those in the capacity to make changes happen.

Our writers are from all backgrounds including domestic violence, advocates and survivors, personal safety, murder, missing persons and cold cases.

We also include those who are an inspiration to us through coaching, pastoring and uplifting.

Time’s Up! for victims and their rights to be ignored.

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