The deteriorating security situation in the country dictates that women, being the weaker sex, should have good knowledge of self-defence to protect themselves
The attacks and subsequent death of 22-year-old Bamise Ayanwole inside a Lagos BRT bus mid-last year underscore the worsening security situation in the country.
Also, statistics across the country reveals that there is a rise in the cases of attacks on the female gender all over the country.
This precarious situation dictates that every female, no matter the age, should have adequate knowledge of self-defence to help out in case she finds herself in a precarious situation. Though many self-defence tips focus on the physical aspects, self-defence should be a complete process, which should include mental aspects, especially on ways of evading an attack or turning it into physical.
So self-defence involves being mentally and physically prepared to protect oneself when faced with a potentially dangerous situation.
Even though there is no guarantee when it comes to self-protecting oneself, being prepared can help in saving the day. No doubt, preparation and awareness are vital to being safe
There are many advantages to having a good knowledge of elf-defence. These include the ability to protect yourself against any dangerous situation, be independent in defending oneself and reducing dependence on others, infusing self-confidence, gain power and control over one’s body and mind, be more responsive and aware and be physically and mentally healthy.
Experts believe these following tips/ strategies can help in making you, especially as a lady, safe when faced with a threatening situation.
- Don’t make yourself an easy target.Don’t make yourself an easy target for attack by walking around with your head down, looking lost or being overburdened by loads and bags. Carry yourself and walk with confidence. Attackers usually lookout for women who are frightened, confused or distracted. If you are alone, be on the look-out. Look straight around, scanning the situation ahead. If you see any suspicious-looking person walking down the street, there is no shame in crossing to the other side of the street. Stay in well-lit areas with good foot traffic. If you park during the daytime, consider what the area will look like when you return at night. Make sure there is ample lighting.
Avoid wearing a sling purse or bag across your shoulder, this might be used to drag you. Wear your jacket over your purse, so your valuables are less exposed.
- Pay attention and trust your instinct.If you are about to enter a bus and you feel the creeps towards those already on the bus, don’t enter wait for the next one. You are not being cowardly, but rather taking precautions to be safe. If you feel something isn’t right, follow that little inner voice and take precautions. Pay complete attention to your environment, don’t talk on the phone or listen to music until you are in a secure and safe location. Be cautious of individuals who seem out of place, or suspicious.
- Avoid any confrontation.Always try to avoid any confrontational situation. Don’t enter into any unnecessary argument, be prepared to hand over your purse to an attacker and run. Avoid letting the attacker drag or lure you into a dark alley, car, abandoned building, dark corner. Note that an important aspect of self-defence is taking the best action that keeps you safe. However, if the situation calls for physical defence, try the non-confrontational stance initially. Give the attacker the false impression, you are ready to cooperate or you don’t know how to defend yourself, even when you are a martial art expert. Try and get an element of surprise when you decide to defend yourself.
- Keep a safe comfort zone or personal space. Learn to maintain these boundaries, even with people you know. This is a zone, you become uncomfortable when someone enters. So maintain it at all times to be able to fight back fast and effectively when the need arises. Be conscious when someone makes you uncomfortable. Be verbal with them. No matter how much you want a friendship or relationship to work, if they can’t respect your boundaries, they are somebody you shouldn’t have in your life. Setting boundaries for verbal, physical, and psychological activities is necessary. Take it seriously and don’t assume that all men are nice, kind and courteous.
- Resort to strong verbal tools.Even under attack, don’t lose your voice. Develop your verbal skills as they are good self-defence too. Engage your attacker in conversation, letting your confidence show. Stay calm, exuding confidence and asserting yourself but not aggression. And when the situation gets worse, do not hesitate to yell to attract possible help around.
- If you must, defend yourself physically. You should try to keep about one to one-and-a-half arm lengths between yourself and the aggressor. If he starts closing in, you need to use verbal boundaries. If he still doesn’t back off, it’s time to get physical. You can attend a self-defence class to learn so basic defence techniques. However, if you are not able to do so, there are some simple techniques of self-defence as humans have vulnerable spots, so go for those on your attackers. These weak spots are eyes, nose, ears, throat, knees and groin.
Use a palm strike, if the attacker is closer. Strike the assailant’s nose or chin with the heel of your hand. Aim upward so that will strike the bottom of his nose or chin. Breaking the nose in this way will be extremely painful for the attacker and will give you plenty of time to escape
Kick the groin hard and firm. Stand firm, push your leg slightly behind and with all the speed and power, engage your hip muscles and quads, kick your leg straight out aiming at the groin. If the attacker is closer, you can use your knee to attack the groin.
Ear Slap. A ringing ear slap is an effective surprise attack. When confronted, open your palms at the side of your waist and distract the offender with conversation. Then in a swift move, cup your hand and slam your palms into the opponent’s ears.
Side Thrust Kick. If you are on the ground and your assailant is standing, it gives you an advantage for you to place a powerful kick into his exposed body.
Knee Strikes.it can also be used if you are on the ground. While you struggle with your attacker, his groin would probably be exposed. Once you see an opening, get close enough to strike upward into his crotch.
Wrist Release. When an attacker grabs your wrist and tries to drag you, don’t resist the grip. Rather, try breaking the hold in one simple movement: Step aside from the line of attack and trap the attacker’s hand by a rotational switch placing your fingers over his wrist, locking the wrist, and then twisting the opponent’s arm, followed by an elbow spiral. You don’t have to be stronger than your attacker to try this.
- Learn to use basic self-defence tools.Common objects can be used as self-defence tools. These include a purse, briefcase, umbrella, phone, pencil, book, whistle or rock. Anything blunt can be used to hit, throw, stab, or swing at your attacker. Your key-holder is a very handy tool. It should not be just a fancy decorative thing. A sharp or jagged-edged key holder can be a tool. A whistle attached to your keychain can be used to frighten off attackers and get help quickly. A nail file or a comb can be a tool. This can be used to rake the attacker across the face.
Make sure your cell phone is charged for emergency calls.
You can also buy other ones like stun devices, pepper spray. If you are carrying any tool, make sure to get training on how to use it and carry it at a convenient safe place like your beast pocket or around your neck.
- Try some mental acts.If you feel you are being followed on the street, do try some tactics such as double-tracking your steps, changing your ways, bumping into a restaurant or store and having some drinks for a while. During a party, stay alert throughout. Keep an eye on your drinks and always keep them to yourself. If possible, pour and open a drink on your own. Try to leave the party you came with or your close friends or inform them when you are about to leave.
- Don’t look for love at all places.Do not believe love can come from anywhere ad let your guard down. Be very vigilant with a new love interest, especially on a first date. Make it happen in an open or well-trafficked place. Be on the lookout for any red flag, even if it is a joke. Watch keenly his interests or activities he is trying you to try your hands on. Especially if you are not used to them or you don’t fancy such.
- Don’t be a creature of habit. Habits are sometimes good to help you get through your days successfully. But be cautious they may make you prone to attacks by people who know your daily schedules- what time you leave the house to catch the bus, what time you arrive back home, what time you are alone at home and other activities. A clever attacker might learn your schedule to attack. So once in a while varies your habits and daily schedules.
As a woman, you must learn to protect yourself. Do not make yourself venerable to attacks from known or unknown people. So do it yourself. Your defence is in your hands.