Self-Defense Help & Advice for Women

Using Self-Defense Techniques and Community to Prevent Sexual Assault

SPIKEY™ is a self-defense tool that puts personal security on the palm of your hand. SPIKEY’s ergonomic grip allows you hold it comfortably anytime you need extra protection. Used as instructed, SPIKEY’s five-spike design allows you to quickly incapacitate your attacker, and is guaranteed to break any hold against you.

While SPIKEY is a great tool for defending yourself, prevention and having others looking out for you can also play a huge role in keeping you and your friends safe. Check out these three posts to help keep you and those around you secure.

Basic Self-Defense Moves Anyone Can Do (and Everyone Should Know)

It’s easy to learn a number of effective self-defense techniques regardless of strength, size, or previous training. This post from the LifeHacker blog has a number of tips and videos to learn how to prevent or defend against attacks. Knowing just a few techniques can make all the difference in avoiding or getting out of a dangerous situation.

While designed for U.S. Department of Defence employees, the advice on this site is useful to helping friends stay safe and how communities can work together to prevent sexual assault. The goal is to encourage employees to say or do something when they see inappropriate or harmful behavior and moving away from placing blame on the victim. The site also includes steps to reduce the risk of sexual assault.

Helping Reduce the Risk of Sexual Assault

We have some tips on how to look out for buddies and keep them safe. There are also many steps you can to reduce the risk of sexual assault.

Active Bystander Intervention
One of the most effective methods of preventing sexual assault is bystander intervention.

What is Active Bystander Intervention?

  • This approach encourages people to identify situations that might lead to a sexual assault and then safely intervene to prevent an assault from occurring.
  • Active Bystander Intervention discourages victim blaming by switching the focus of prevention to what a community of people can do collectively.
  • The approach also allows for a change in cultural expectations by empowering everyone to say or do something when they see inappropriate or harmful behavior.
  • This method of intervention places the responsibility of sexual assault prevention on both men and women.

How to Intervene

There are three components to Active Bystander Intervention:

  • Recognizing when to intervene. Some people might be concerned that they are being encouraged to place themselves in jeopardy to stop crimes in progress. This is not the case. There are many situations and events that occur prior to a sexual assault that are appropriate for intervention. Active bystander intervention encourages people to watch for those behaviors and situations that appear to be inappropriate, coercive and harassing
  • Considering whether the situation needs attention. The Department of Defense has chosen to link “duty” with sexual assault prevention. Service members need to understand that it is their moral duty to pay attention to situations that put their friends and co-workers at risk.
  • Deciding if there is a responsibility to act. A great deal of research has been done to understand the conditions that encourage people to get involved. There are situational factors that influence a person’s willingness to act. These include the presence of other witnesses, the uncertainty of the situation, the apparent level of danger or risk to the victim, and the setting of the event. Personal characteristics of the bystander also contribute to a decision to act.

Help Someone You Know

When choosing what form of assistance to use, there are a variety of ways to intervene. Some of them are direct, and some of them are less obvious to the perpetrator:

  • Making up an excuse to get him/her out of a potentially dangerous situation
    Letting a friend or co-worker know that his or her actions may lead to serious consequences.
  • Never leaving a his/her side, despite the efforts of someone to get him/her alone or away from you.
  • Using a group of friends to remind someone behaving inappropriately that his or her behavior should be respectful.
  • Taking steps to curb someone’s use of alcohol before problems occur
    Calling the authorities when the situation warrants.

Understanding how to safely implement the choice. Safety is paramount in active bystander intervention. Usually, intervening in a group is safer than intervening individually. Also, choosing a method of intervention that de-escalates the situation is safer than attempting a confrontation. However, there is no single rule that can account for every situation. Service members must use good judgment and always put safety first.

Risk Reduction and Prevention Safety

Common sense, situational awareness and trusting your instincts will reduce the risk of sexual assault. The tips below may help decrease the potential chance of sexual assault:

  • If you consume alcohol, do so in moderation.
  • Do not leave your beverage unattended or accept a drink from an open container.
  • When you are with someone, communicate clearly to ensure he or she knows your limits and/or expectations from the beginning. Both verbal and nonverbal (body language) communication can be used to ensure the message is understood.
  • If you go on a date with someone you do not know very well, tell a close friend what your plans are.
  • You have the right to say “No” even if you:
    — First say “Yes,” and then change your mind
    — Have had sex with this partner before
    — Have been kissing or “making out”
    — Are wearing what is perceived to be “provocative” clothing
  • Always have extra money to get home. Have a plan for someone you can call if you need help.
  • If you feel uncomfortable, scared or pressured, say “Stop it” or leave and call for help.
  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, watch out for each other and leave together.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Do not allow yourself to be isolated with a person you do not know or trust.
    Travel with a friend or in a group.
  • Walk only in lighted areas after dark.
  • Keep the doors to homes, barracks and cars locked.
  • Know where the phone is located.

Who Are You? Campaign from New Zealand

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault

This compelling public service announcement from New Zealand makes the point that sexual assault can be prevented if bystanders take action – even if it’s something small. Offenders are often known to the victim and the events leading up to an assault are frequently witnessed by others. The video shows how to step in and do something.

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