As days get darker sooner, tactic expert teaches self-protection, ‘awareness before defense’
The sun is setting earlier nowadays, so we talked to a tactics expert about protecting yourself on the street in these darker days.
“The first thing we tell anyone is awareness before defense. I mean let’s be honest, who wants to get into a fight,” asks Jesus Villahermosa, a former SWAT team member and owner of Crisis Reality Training.
“There’s one author that wrote women have this syndrome called the “feminist masochistic attitude,” Villahermosa continues. “And what it means is, a lot of women put themselves in second place safety wise over their concern of what someone else thinks of them.”
In other words, women sometimes ignore their own gut instinct in order not to offend another person. Villahermosa explains, “Let me give you an example, I’m at an elevator at two o’ clock in the morning as a woman, it opens in the parking lot garage, I’m going upstairs to my apartment and there’s a man inside that as soon as it opens, something just doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s the time of morning, maybe it’s the environment, I’m alone, he’s alone but maybe he’s looking at you and something just doesn’t feel right.” Rather than just go ‘I’m waiting for my boyfriend or you know what, I’ve got to get something out of my car.’” He says that we should be okay with being rude and not care what a total stranger thinks. And that includes if we think someone is following us.
“The first thing we tell you is step into a public place; grocery store, with the holidays almost everything is open later. And really walk around the store and see are you being followed,” Villahermosa adds.
We can also avoid being picked for a crime simply by the way we walk. Recently, a study was conducted among serial rapists who told how they chose their victims. “There were two things that were on every serial rapist’s list which really surprised the researchers,” Villahermosa points out. “Lack of eye contact and slumped shoulders." Walk upright and be aware of your surroundings.
The same rules apply for men, no matter what ego may tell you. “We will have some of the same senses, but we just won’t believe them as strong as women because again, physical force. ‘I can defend myself.’ Really? Have you been in a fight lately? I’ve been in dozens of fights in my career in law enforcement, and I tell you one thing I learned in every single one of them. I knew that someday I was going to fight someone who’s going to beat me and possibly kill me so that’s why I started relying more on my awareness.”
And finally, in a worst case scenario where you do have to defend yourself, always be ready. Villahermosa adds, “Be careful of the safety products you buy. Pepper spray is a great thing, but the problem is that it’s not going to do you any good in your purse. If you’re not willing to carry it in your hand or if your hand’s not already on it, you need to know that it’s not going to do you any good.”
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