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.

Safety Tip #2: Be Safe. Learn Self-Defense

This self-defense video is “empowering women with options.” Before attending college, it is important for women to learn some tools to defend themselves from an attacker. We all like to believe that we are going to be safe walking across campus or partying with friends, but that’s not the case. Things happen. You can be robbed, beaten, raped, or even killed. Don’t wait until it is too late.

Debi Steven demonstrates the do’s and don’ts in common attack scenarios. The video also features a “multifunctional personal safety aid” called the Weeble. It’s a compact key fob which can be used physically defend yourself. In the case of a drug related attack, the Weeble can also store 14 mL of urine for evidence.

– Sarah Roberts

Kick off for the Better Safe Than Sorry – Alcohol and Unprotected Sex Don’t Mix! Campaign at the Winston Churchill High School in Montgomery County, Maryland

We launched the Better Safe Than Sorry Project with a kickoff today at Churchill High School. Our project aims to empower young adults to make informed decisions about alcohol and other drug use, including it’s consequences. Our focus on prenatal alcohol exposure and the reproductive health consequences of alcohol use is incorporated into broader messages, presented in a format that is both light-hearted and serious. This “train the trainer” approach attempts to engage adolescent “change agents” in the program development to tailor each school-based project according to each school’s interests.

Dr. Joan Benz, the principal of Churchill High School (#1 public high school in Maryland for 2013), requested our leadership to develop a Churchill BSTS campaign after she heard Dr. Rich present in Baltimore at the FASD and the Law Summit (read former article). Over the past several weeks, BSTS volunteers collaborated with Churchill students and staff in a series of 4 focus groups designed to train students as change agents while getting their direction, feedback and perspectives about the campaign.  Together, we developed the BSTS Project’s kick off presentation for Churchill seniors that we held on April 2nd.

The multimedia presentation (developed during the focus groups) was designed to prepare seniors for prom, graduation, beach week, college and beyond. The Safety Tips evolved out of Dr. Rich’s desire to catch the students’ attention while sharing important information for healthy transitioning. Her father, a retired police officer, helped start the original MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) programs in Randolph and Guilford County, NC and has been an inspiration in her prevention efforts.  As a child psychiatrist, she always appreciates the simple approach of children’s books to get serious points across. “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann is the inspiration for the safety tips, with David Letterman’s “Top Ten reasons” lists providing additional humor.  To get an idea on how Officer Buckle and Gloria presented their Safety Tips watch the book reading on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmViPSWwbPY

Our aim with this first presentation is:

1) To empower High School students to make informed personal decisions about alcohol use;

2) To kickoff our student led blog and internship program;

3) To inspire Churchill students and faculty to begin incorporating messages about reproductive health consequences of alcohol use into their curriculum, and

4) To help develop and empower student leadership toward prevention initiatives on a broader scale by posting the presentation to our blog, which has the potential to reach a global audience.

Our Safety Tips are:

Safety Tip #10: Be Smart – Beware of Prom Gaming

 

Safety Tip #9: Fashion Tip. Don’t Vomit on your Favorite Clothes

 

Safety Tip #8: Use Common Sense. Limo drivers are smart.

Safety Tip #7: Catch 22

EtOH (til21) & Mj r illegal – 18 y.o.’s go to jAIL not juvie.

 

Safety Tip #6: Be Self-conscious. Beware of Black Outs & Booty Calls

 

Safety Tip #5: Have Self-respect. Avoid Social Media Frights!

 

Safety Tip #4: Be a good Samaritan. Take care of friends

 

Safety Tip # 3: Know your limit. We are NOT all EQUAL

 

Safety Tip #2: Be safe. Learn Self-Defense

 

Safety Tip #1: If you use alcohol, CONTRACEPT. If pregnant or might be, AVOID alcohol.

  Copyright by Dr. Susan D. Rich Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign

In upcoming posts, more details on each safety tip will be provided along with information, useful web links and resources.

Feel free to spread the word or to get in touch with our team for further questions on our Better Safe Than Sorry Campaign.