Maybe it's the guy behind you at the grocery store or sitting at the bus stop. Maybe it's your next door neighbor or your best friend's new boyfriend.
One in six women are raped.
Scary but unfortunately it can happen to you. Or me.
The Ali Kemp Foundation sponsors self defense training in memory of Ali, a K-State student who was murdered at a neighborhood pool where she worked. I was in college when Ali was murdered and covered the story for my college newspaper. I've been wanting to participate in the foundation's training, and finally did this weekend with my friend Johanna. The course was taught by a black belt karate couple. The husband is also a corrections officer.
We learned about awareness. More than just the usual "hold your keys between your fingers" tricks. But things like asking the company coming to do work at your place if they do background checks on their employees. (Guess where felons and sex offenders can get jobs after prison?) When to run from a gun and when to stop and listen. How to keep your car from looking like a woman's car. Criminals know we're the trusting gender, and they take advantage of that.
Then we learned combat. Not just scratch your eyes out, but real combat. I can get out of a choke hold three different ways. I know what to do if an attacker grabs my hair from the front or grabs my hair from behind. If I am on my stomach, I can roll over on my back. And then roll someone off of me even if they double my weight. I can poke out their eyes, punch them in the nose or throat and knee the heck out of their groin. We practiced on our partners and then really practiced on dummies.
I do hope I never have to use it and that awareness of my surroundings will be enough. (Plus a lot of loud screaming.) But I feel more empowered knowing I have the tools to fight to survive.
Behaviors I am changing immediately:
1. Remove the girly items from my car to make it less of a target.
2. Write down my running route, my outfit and time I left every morning.
3. Never go anywhere for more than 15 minutes without letting someone know where I'll be.
4. Pay more attention to people around me. Especially those who enter my bubble.
5. Participate in a TAKE class once a year to review techniques.
Police estimate it only took 15 minutes for Ali Kemp's attacker to beat and strangle her to death. In the middle of a summer day.
Would you know what to do to save your life?