The Importance of Self-defense in Prevention of Sexual Assault

This summer, before going off to college, the BSTS interns had the opportunity to train with black belt instructors at Kicks Karate in Potomac (http://kickskarate.com). Dr. Rich feels strongly that young women and men need to understand basic self-defense strategies to avoid situations in which they may be harmed. With the epidemic of binge drinking on college campuses, she encourages all of her patients to be trained in self-defense before leaving high school.

In this BSTS session, Black Belt Master Chris and Lead Instructor Master Nick shared insights on how to be safe and make smart decisions when going out socially and taught the interns several key self-defense body moves for getting out of unavoidable danger.

Watch the video on our YouTube channel and learn those key self-defense body moves alongside us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ovbkc1faC-A

The most important things to keep in mind:
  • Watch your body language; predators are looking for an easy target
    • Maintain eye contact
    • Represent confidence in your posture
    • Maintain a safety distance to strangers
  • Make smart choices
    • Stay in groups
    • Park and stay in well-lit areas
    • Use your intuition, be comfortable with where you are and the people you are with
    • Be aware of your surroundings (e.g., don’t run with earbuds, you might not hear someone approach you)
  • DON’T BE A VICTIM!
    • Alcohol and other drugs impairs our mental ability to make safe choices.  Substances influence our judgment, making unsafe people or situations seem okay.
    • Alcohol impairs our physical ability to defend ourselves. Chris admitted: “If I have alcohol in my system, I can’t trust my techniques, although I have over twenty years of experience.”
    • If you drink alcohol to the point that you “black out” à ask yourself: “is this really happening?”
    • Usually we don’t expect anything “bad” happening since we live in an area protected by the law.
    • Don’t wait to second guess an assailant’s motives à Act fast!
    • If you are uneasy or comfortable with something say “NO!” loudly in a very clear voice with a different tone (high or low pitch) and intensity.
  • DON’T BE A BY-STANDER!
    • have the moral courage to stop dangerous things from happening (e.g., obviously drunk young women being taken advantage of; someone who overdoses on alcohol that is unconscious needs medical attention not hazing or pictures taken of him/her)
    • take care of your friends have the courage to stop something wrong (i.e., friends drinking too much or going home with strangers)
    • despite the feeling of “group okay,” have the strength to step out and to intervene (unfortunately people tend to watch and become numb if they witness something wrong happening).
Self-defense is nasty, but it’s to protect you from becoming a victim!

The self-defense stance:

  • one leg is back for stability and balance, you can get in to action mode way faster
  • elbows are bent, your hits become more effective
  • your fingers are spread symbolizing STOP

When someone approaches you:

  • keep him 2 “actions” away from you (i.e., 2 steps or leg lengths)
  • use your voice in different levels (our voice range can vary in between 10 different pitches)

If you have to defend yourself:

  • position your hips behind shoulders
  • target a palm strike under the chin or
  • aim straight in and out in the eyes
  • for the kick strike, lift up your knee first and then kick (that way your kick becomes more powerful)

We hope this video encourages you to take a self-defense class, and most importantly to have the moral courage to stop something wrong from happening to yourself or someone else.

 

We thank Masters Chris and Nick with Kicks Karate for talking to us about the importance of self-defense, for raising our awareness about dangerous situations, and for teaching us some basic strategies.

FASD Awareness Day 2014 “Bring on the Beer and Pass Out the Condoms”

Our Better Safe than Sorry Project effort with Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington in recognition of FASD Awareness Day was a success.  Six volunteers distributed condoms at a booth outside The Barking Dog bar in Bethesda, Maryland on Saturday evening (before the party crowd).  Our aim was to test the idea as a pilot project, to gather reactions from pedestrians and patrons, and to learn more for future campaign events.

Booth

Our display booth with free condoms was visited by a number of pedestrians and bar patrons.

Table with condoms

Informational condom cards made a nice display with the U.S. Surgeon General’s warning cards by the bathroom door.

 Bathroom stalls

We posted posters behind the bathroom stalls where customers could read over the information in privacy.

Top 10 BSTS Lessons Learned about Condom Distribution:

  1.  Female bartenders felt passing a condom with the first drink of the evening would seem like a proposition. Duh! Why didn’t we think of that???

  1.  50 and 60-somethings agreed to share the informational condom pocket cards with their 20 and 30-somethings (who were partying elsewhere) – men seemed more open than women.

  1.  A scientist from the Environmental Protection Agency now knows that prenatal alcohol exposure affects 2-6% of American children – a bigger problem than environmental chemicals!

  1.  Most people thought that the CDC rate of 1 in 8 (13%) underestimated true numbers of college women binge drinking and were shocked that 50% of U.S. pregnancies are unplanned.

  2.  When passing a condom to a pedestrian, do so discretely (i.e., whisper, don’t shout – “Use a condom if you drink alcohol!”).

Pass it on –  Contracept if you drink alcohol to prevent FASD!!!!

Free Condoms at the Barking Dog Bar and Grill for FASD Awareness Day

In recognition of FASD Awareness Day, on September 6th, the Better Safe than Sorry Project Team will be at the Barking Dog pub in Bethesda, MD distributing 999 condoms and informational materials about FASD.

The condoms were donated by the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington.  For each first drink of the evening purchased, patrons of the bar will receive a condom with a bookmark cover to promote contraception for alcohol consumers.  BSTS project volunteers will provide information and a brief discussion about FASD for those who express interest in learning more.

 front of condom cover  inside of condom cover Back of condom cover

Our project concept was developed by our interns after the idea was suggested during one of our summer talk show segments.  From a primary prevention perspective, It’s a little further “upstream” approach than the pregnancy test kits in bars – another extraordinarily innovative project implemented in Minnesota and Alaska.

STOP our social drug of choice from affecting 2-6% of school aged children with preventable brain damage.  Just like HIV/AIDS & STD prevention, help spread the word to “contracept if you use alcohol!” 

Special thanks to BSTS volunteers Melissa Blair and Nick Muzic, BSTS interns Sydnie Butin, Juliana Pietri, Carlye Hillman, Kaitlyn Gularson, and Nathalie Pollack, and our fabulous BSTS Blog Master, Daniela Mielke for creating and implementing the innovative FASD Awareness Day prevention project. We are also thankful to the Barking Dog bar and grill for letting us promote our project there and to Robert Ridley of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington for donating the condoms.