Walking home alone and feeling uneasy? Getting a weird vibe from a stranger on the bus? Many of us have been there.
In a January 2018 survey of 1,000 women nationwide, 81 percent reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment, assault, or both in their lifetime.
Verbal harassment was the most common form, but 51 percent of women said they were touched or groped in an unwelcome way, while 27% of women survived sexual assault.
Even if you’ve personally never felt yourself in a situation that made you feel physically unsafe, having reassurance about your next steps (and what you can do to help yourself should the unfortunate circumstance ever happen) can make all the difference.
Below are our top self-defense moves for women — complete with instructions — to help you feel empowered to defend yourself in any situation.
Using your car keys is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself. Don’t use your fingernails, because you’re more at risk to injure your hands. Instead, if you feel unsafe while walking at night, have your keys stick out from one side of your fist for hammer strikes. Another way to use your keys is to click them onto a lanyard to swing at your attacker.
Hold your key ring in a tight fist, like holding a hammer, with keys extending from the side of your hand.
Thrust downward toward your target.
If someone is coming at you from the front, a groin kick may deliver enough force to paralyze your attacker, making your escape possible.
Stabilize yourself as best you can.
Lift your dominant leg off the ground and begin to drive your knee upward.
Extend your dominant leg, drive hips forward, slightly lean back, and kick forcefully, making contact between your lower shin or ball of your foot and the attacker’s groin area.
Alternative: If your attacker is too close, thrust your knee toward the groin. Make sure you’re stabilized and not at risk of falling over.
Heel Palm Strike
This move can cause damage to the nose or throat. To execute, get in front of your attacker as much as is possible.