Self-defense: An important skill to acquire

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The scenario is terrifying, and it’s crossed every girl’s mind at least once.

You’re walking alone at night, and you hear footsteps behind you. When you turn to look, no one is there. You continue walking, but before reaching your car, you realize someone following you. And their intentions are anything but pure.

Since the recent reported sexual assault at Skyline, the female student body may wonder, “How safe are we, really?” While we can’t control what could happen in a time of vulnerability, such as in the scenario of walking alone at night, we can control how the situation plays out.

Self-defense is an important skill for every person, not just females. While it is true that women are considered an easier target than men, anyone could find themselves in a dangerous situation in which they need to defend themselves. Staying alert while walking alone can decrease your chances of being attacked, and certain simple maneuvers can protect you if you are.

Look around as you walk, don’t look at the ground or only straight ahead. Being aware of your surroundings makes it much less likely that you will be caught off guard.

Another important thing to avoid is listening to music or being distracted while you’re walking by yourself. A person who is paying attention to something else (especially if that something else is loud music that makes it impossible to hear anything around you) is an easy target for predators.

Make sure if you’re walking alone that someone close to you knows where you are and when they should expect you. That way, they know something is wrong if you don’t call when you say you will. That being said, it’s not advisable to talk on your cell phone while you’re in a potentially threatening situation. While it may make you feel safer to hear someone on the other end of the line, talking on the phone relates back to being distracted.

If you are attacked, certain things can minimize the damage your attacker might do.

First of all, if they ask for something like your phone or your wallet, give it to them. If they grab you or threaten to hurt you if you fight back or call for help, you should do it anyway. Many attackers are bluffing when they threaten their victims, and if they’re not, it’s likely they’ll hurt you whether you scream or not. By fighting back and drawing attention to yourself, you make their mission risky and difficult. More often than not, an attacker will flee if their victim screams and fights back.

There are many self-defense classes at Skyline for students who want to learn more than just the basics of biting and clawing. Not only will you learn a valuable skill, it’s also exercise.

“Knowing self-defense makes me feel safer,” says former Skyline and CSM student Makena McGowan. “And it’s a good workout!”

However you look at it, there isn’t any reason for a person to be without a general idea of how to protect themselves. Learning this invaluable skill could save your life.