Self Defense Tips for Moms
Most moms talk to their kids about safety several times a day. “Stranger danger” is one of the first concepts we teach our children. But, would you know what to do if someone suspicious approaches you? Do you feel you can protect yourself – and your children if they are with you – from attack?
Fear of being put in this type of situation has been sending women to self-defense classes for years. These classes teach women how to fight back by kicking, punching or jabbing if they are caught by an assailant. Some classes even offer instructions on gun use.
These classes are beneficial if they will bring you peace of mind, however, as most of these classes teach, prevention and awareness are the two most effective self-defense tools at your disposal. Here are ways to protect yourself in common situations.
When taking public transportation:
- Wait in well lit, highly populated areas for transportation to arrive.
- Sit behind the driver, if possible.
- Sitting next to a door is another good option, as this allows you to exit quickly if needed.
- Avoid window seats, as this could allow a threatening passenger to trap you. Stick with aisle seats.
- When riding the subway or a train, choose compartments with the most passengers.
- You are at the most risk when entering and exiting your car. Be extra aware of your surroundings.
- Have your keys out and ready as you walk to your vehicle.
- Have 911 ready to dial on your cell phone.
- Keep walking if you see people who make you feel uncomfortable lingering around your car.
- Be alert when walking through parking lots. It is easy for attackers to hide under or between cars, especially at night.
- Ask a store manager or security guard to accompany you to your car if you feel anxious.
- Check all of the seats and floorboards before getting in to make sure no one is hiding in the car.
- Don’t willingly get into a vehicle with an attacker, even if he has a weapon. Make a scene instead. Scream and run away. Hit and kick if necessary. Attackers will often move on to easier prey. If you go with an attacker, your chances of escape are minimal.
- Immediately lock all doors when you get in the car.
- Don’t leave the car unlocked, even if you are just running into a business quickly.
- Never pull your car over, especially on a quiet road or at night. Attackers sometimes try to get their victims off to the side of the road by motioning that they have a flat tire or other problem.
- Likewise, don’t stop to help anyone who is off to the side of the road with car trouble, even if it is a woman or they have a child. It may be a trap. Call 911 instead and inform the dispatcher of the person's location and need for assistance.
When walking or running outside:
- Change your route frequently in case an attacker is tracking your routine.
- Look for safe places on each route where you can get help, for example a coffee shop or home of a friendly neighbor.
- If you are being followed by a car, turn around and run back in the direction from which you just came. The car will be forced to turn around to continue following you, which will cost them time.
- If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, run against the traffic so you see what is coming.
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Never assume the area is safe and let your guard down.
- Don’t listen to your iPod, etc. in isolated areas.
- Always carry a cell phone and safety whistle to assist you in getting help if needed.
Don’t hesitate to take a self-defense class if it will make you feel more secure, but these skills should not replace being cautious and alert. According to the Women’s Personal Defense Center, 75% of attacks against women are committed by someone they know. Trust your instincts if you become uncomfortable even in familiar situations or with someone you’ve come in contact with before.
Rachael Moshman is a lifelong Florida resident, but hates the heat. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in education with focuses in early childhood, infant/toddler development and special needs. She is a freelance writer and college instructor. Her greatest accomplishment is becoming the last mom to an amazing little girl through foster care adoption. In addition to her husband and daughter, she lives with two cats and a mannequin named Vivian. She is a magazine junky, owns too many shoes and collects tons of recipes that she never attempts to make. You can find out more about her writing at www.rachaelmoshman.com.