Violence against women remains a significant concern globally, with 1 in 3 women experiencing physical violence in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization.
The data is alarming. An intimate male partner commits as many as 38% of murders of women. “80 percent of attacks occur by someone the victim knows; and that if victims go to a secondary location (like getting into a car), they’re far more likely never to return,” explains Keith Jordan, Former Law Enforcement Officer and Director of the International Defense Academy.
While of course attacks shouldn’t happen, they do, which is why learning self-defense is so necessary as, “One in five women is likely to be assaulted in her lifetime and you will know the rapist 75% of the time.” Says Jordan.
Apparently, there are three things that women do that put them at risk: It’s not understanding why they are attached in relationships, how they judge who is safe and not trusting their instincts.
Some people seem to think that if we talk about sexual assault, we will make it happen more however the reality of the situation is that we must talk about it. “We must educate our daughters, sisters and friends about it, because then at least women have the tools, both mental and physical, to handle any situation,” Adds Jordan.
So what are some essential tips for women to stay safe in general? The first step is to understand attackers and then learn how to handle attacks. “Attackers are afraid of two things: getting caught or getting hurt. Most pick their victims not based on what the woman is wearing (which is complete nonsense) – they do it based on who they think will be an easy target. In stressful situations, we fight, flight, or freeze. When it comes to sexual assaults, most women freeze. So it’s preparing physically for those situations, trying to train your brain with muscle memory,” says Jordan.
The International Defense Academy offers different courses for both men and women, so self-defense for a woman means she brings her particular strengths to the conflict while minimizing the strengths of a man. “She should not attempt to fight directly into the “strengths” of the man who is attacking her. That’s not silly or flawed reasoning; it’s a smart strategy for any fighter,” Explains Jordan.
“Attackers look for people who are not aware of their surroundings. They focus on people they think are easily manipulated and easily controlled by fear.”
A favorite strategy of some well-publicized courses include the “stun and run” and “keep hitting him until he is down” technique; however, Jordan uses a different approach.
“You have to remember that men operate off their reptilian brain when fighting. Ever see two guys fight? One will throw a punch, and the other guy will punch back. It is almost as if the first attacker “reminds” the second guy what range and what technique is appropriate. The hundreds of women who trained in the program as it was evolving “showed” us what worked and what didn’t. They began to be able to see sexual assault scenarios as problems that needed a solution. They began to be able to spontaneously respond to full power attacks with an appropriate and effective solution. Women began to gain confidence in the techniques because they worked – under stress in realistic scenarios. And as they gain confidence in their skill, they developed confidence in their will,” concludes Jordan.
By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.