There’s a lot of stuff you can do to protect yourself and it’s all really great. We have access to a variety of things that are very effective. The most important thing on this topic, I believe, is knowing your gear. There’s nothing worse than being prepared and then something bad still happening. It can leave you feeling even more vulnerable because, “Hey, I even had pepper spray or this or that and still got my purse snatched. NOW what do I do?”
Say you’re walking in a parking garage, on your way to your car and someone approaches you. You have a stun gun and you’re ready to use it. Only.. You’ve never used it before. You’ve never tested it. You bought it, got it in the mail, opened it and put it in your purse and forgot about it until right now. When we think about it, we all know that NOW is not the right time to test it out; you need it to be reliable by this point. But the truth is, most who own it, have never used it. Here are some tips for a few different self-defense things you might be looking into and how to prepare yourself if you need to use them.
Pepper Spray/ Mace:
You won’t run out by tapping the button – most pepper spray canisters have at least 15 shots in them. Go outside, face away from any wind so it doesn’t come back atcha’ and pull the trigger. Here’s why: Read the label and look for a few things. How far does it shoot? Is it a gel or a spray? You might be surprised how it behaves. What if you try to use it for the first time and the assailant is 10 feet away. You don’t want to be questioning if it will reach or not. You want to know how it feels when you press it and if there is a safety switch that needs to be unlocked before using it. This is one instruction manual you want to take the time to read. It’s also worth noting that pepper spray and mace doesn’t work on everyone.
Taser/ Stun Gun:
You probably tested this one out because… Well, sparks and stuff. Who doesn’t want to test out their stun gun? This tip is moreso about the willingness to use it. You want to make sure that when you’re in a situation where you need to use it, you USE IT. If your posture is droopy, your eyes to the ground, you’re backing up into a corner, your body language will say anything but danger. In cases like this it is more likely that your stun gun will be actually used on you, making the assailant’s job easier. Not suggesting you go around tasing people for fun but you need to be ready to use it and be comfortable getting close enough for it because this one is much more close-range.
Knife/ Gun/ Lethal force:
When it comes stuff like this, you need to be trained. There’s no excuse to not be trained when you are dealing with a matter of life and death. Here is my take on the use of anything involving lethal force. The importance of training not only teaches you how to use it properly so it’s not used against you but it also teaches you to not use it excessively. Some people get nervous easily around threats and with very good reason. But come nervousness, comes a fight or flight response. If you have a fight response and you own lethal weapons, you need to be ready for consequences on both sides of the fence and truly understand what you’re getting yourself into. Along with training are the laws. Know the laws in your area and what you’re able to carry. Sometimes the most effective methods need to handled with the most amount of care.
Go with friends so your whole crew knows this stuff. In the same way that learning a language is better when you’re immersed in the culture so is true for a culture of safety. It will keep you aware and alert when you’re around others that think the same way. Pretty cool having power in numbers as you walk down the street. Plus, most places give group discounts.
Self-defense and self-protection is a really important part of feeling confident and prepared. As with everything there is a spectrum. To one end of the scale there are those who want to carry guns everywhere they go and the other side are those who are naive and think nothing bad can happen to them. It’s important to try and get a sense of where you think you might fall on this scale. It will help you decide what sort of self-defense is right for you. Not everyone is suited to be carrying a taser or knife. Maybe you’d feel safest having pepper spray or taking a class. The key is comfortability and feeling empowered by what you choose.
I love talking about this topic because there’s something accessible for everyone and the knowledge out there is vast. Having the right self-defense in place can give you a real sense of freedom and I encourage everyone to look into the options.