Friday, August 14, 2009

License to Live

Self-defense teacher and author Ellen Snortland wrote a really to-the-point article in the Huffington Post last week, which you can read in it's entirety at

Ellen convincingly argues that teen girls should be required to take a self-defense class as part of drivers' education. I need no convincing. After all, self-defense are critical life skills for the most at-risk group of women in America.

And in case you won't be clicking on the above link, below are Ellen's most basic rules for personal safety:
  • Give up property. If an assailant wants money or the car, give it to them. They might go away.
  • Do not give up your body. Do not go with anyone to a secondary crime scene. Better to resist or run from the primary encounter. Resistance from the intended victim is apt to result in the perpetrator giving up, witnesses reporting/helping, or in the worst case, at least leaving forensic evidence for clues.
  • Work out a "code" word so your family knows you're in trouble. Agree that if and when you call and say something agreed upon like, "Is that Lassie barking?" it actually means, "Help me."
  • If you've been taken, look to escape every chance you can. Don't give up. Injuries from jumping out of a car can be less hazardous than getting further along with an increasingly desperate criminal.
  • Do not believe a person who says "Be quiet go with me and I won't hurt you." They have already hurt you by committing the crime of kidnapping. Be loud and don't go with them.
  • Insist that schools provide a state required self-defense component.
I've heard parents ask me why self-defense classes are not routinely offered in the public school system, and I have no good answer for them. Perhaps that is the next level of self-defense, making sure others in your community have much-needed tools to keep themselves safe.

For more information, visit Self-Defense for Teen Girls Only.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

If you were witnessing a rape, what would you do?

Over 4 years ago, a woman named Maria was assaulted in the New York subway. She was grabbed by her assailant in full view of a subway clerk. She was pulled down the stairs to the subway platform. There she was raped, even as a train pulled in, and then pulled out, of the station.

Both the token booth clerk and train conductor pushed their emergency buttons to summon the police. And the police came within 10 minutes. But the assailant had raped her twice, eluded capture, and is still at large.

Read more here.

Maria sued the Transit Authority. She feels that both the clerk and train conductor could have done more. Not act like police, but they could have yelled at her assailant to stop and that they were summoning the police, without putting themselves at risk. A judge, however, ruled that the Transit Authority employees did their duty, and were not obligated to do more.

What do you think?

Not so much what the Transit Authority employees did (or didn't do). What would you have done? If you saw what looked like an assault or rape in progress, would you consider summoning the police to be your only obligation? Or is that even an obligation on your part? How far would you go to interrupt the assault process? Is that a skill set you'd want to learn? Or practice? Let me know -- email me.