Build Your Inner Strength
Learn to Interrupt
Admittedly an odd title to begin a piece about Empowerment. The following two quotes by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will both clarify, and unfortunately elicit a feeling of familiarity from many women; and serve as our launching point.
“Probably every woman you know… has been in meetings where you're the only woman in the room, and you want to make some kind of a comment and you think, Okay, I'm not going to say that, because it sounds stupid. And then some man says it, and everybody thinks it's completely brilliant, and you're really mad at yourself for not having spoken. “
“When I started teaching at Georgetown, I said to my students, especially the women, that they had to learn to interrupt. Guys are really good at it. I do think that women are more polite ... The combination of being raised to be polite, listen to other people's ideas, and then this kind of lack of security, "Is this something I'm competent to discuss?" ... we question ourselves much more than men. But if you're going to interrupt, you have to know what you're talking about. And you have to do it in a strong voice. “
Get a male and female group together socially, and more often it’s the men that address the general group, or use stronger voices... so seem to stand out better. Women hesitate, due to upbringing, social conditioning, lack of strong self-confidence, yielding to more aggressive behavior, or a host of other reasons.
Stand Your Ground
It’s an important step towards feeling empowered to confidently take a stand. Women who feel intimidated by someone’s greater physical strength, have not been taught simple techniques that reverse the equation, and allow them to overpower a larger person.
This applies to mental and emotional power. Like anything you want to become well versed in, you need to learn “the hows”. To paraphrase Gandhi: plan your non-violent resistance like a general plans her war campaign -- with the same firmness, but without the violence.
One of the best investments you can make is learning a martial art. Choose one that incorporates meditation, like Chi Gong.
Avoid Violent Crime
It is very important to train yourself to be aware of what is going on around you, at all times, especially in new situations, at night, or when traveling alone. Your ability to keep your radar up could be a lifesaver.
There is a concept called the triangle among firefighters. Along each side is an element that a fire needs in order to burn. If you take away one of these elements, the triangle collapses and the fire goes out. Crime is the same: In order for it to occur, there must be three basic elements.
This is easily remembered as A.O.I. (Ability, Opportunity and Intent). Take away any one of these elements and the triangle collapses. In other words, the crime does not have what it needs to occur.
Ability : Does the person have the ability to attack you? Could this person successfully assault you, whether through physical prowess, a weapon or numerical superiority? Many women underestimate male upper-body strength and how vulnerable they are to being physically overwhelmed.
Opportunity : Does this person have the opportunity to attack you? Are you alone with him or even in an area beyond immediate help? Could anyone come to your assistance within twenty seconds or less? As many victims have found, you can be robbed in plain view or raped with people in the next room.
Intent: Is he in a mental place where using violence to get what he wants makes sense to him?
Of the three, intent is the most nebulous, yet it is vital for determining who is a threat. It is the literally the difference between going off with someone to talk and being raped.
Note that a violent person may suddenly find himself with the perfect opportunity/ability to commit a rape, and suddenly the intent appears. There was no conscious initial decision, but the circumstances developed.
That last observation is the most compelling reason to avoid putting yourself in any situation that seems risky.
If you’re walking to your car, and you see two suspicious people hovering near it, you ignore the possibilities, take a chance and go to your car anyway, or recognize the potential risk and go back where you were. Confidence is always second in line to Risk Avoidance.
All too often, to prove they’re fearless or self-confident, men and women have walked into very bad situations.
However, once you’re in the middle of danger, you need to be prepared to act ruthlessly, and quickly. It’s not enough to think you can or will, you have to train your mind to cope with the possibility of aggression.
Remember that most people freeze when faced with an unexpected situation, literally like deer in the headlights, our mind knows we should do something, but our body won’t move. Take steps to ensure you will take action.
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” Proverbs 15:1 New King James Version. And women are indisputably superior to men, in crafting a soft answer. But staying calm, while under attack, is not easy. Hence the need for training, and the best we know is Mindfulness Meditation. (See selections available from the Home Page)
Start at the earliest signs. Invite your partner to attend joint counseling sessions, or if that is not an option, visit a Domestic Violence Help Center. They are available locally and nationally.
For access to service providers and shelters across the U.S.A.: http://www.thehotline.org/help/ BLISS Facilitators can help.
As with any threat, risk has to be constantly evaluated, in the context of the present situation. Moderate drinking in a large group of close friends, with a designated driver home, is much lower risk than drinking with a stranger on a date.
Always carry a noisemaker or whistle
Unlike other instruments, they can’t be taken from you and used against you. They are small and light; and can be carried with you at all times. Activating a noise-maker and throwing it away from you, can buy you time to run in the opposite direction.
Hit & run
Get enough martial arts training (see links), to hit a vital area (groin, face, neck) hard enough; to buy you enough time to run to safety.
If you have even the slightest doubt about someone stay in public with him. Do NOT go off alone with him ... and by this we especially mean don't accept offers of rides in his car from him.
Don’t be afraid to lie/b>
"I have to pee". Explain the need to pee is somewhat pressing, and you'll have any accident any minute if you can’t go. The promise (that you intend to break) is that you will be right back. Make sure you have a way out, you don’t want to make him mad and be trapped. Or at least know where you might lock a door and get out a window safely.
LINKS and Resources:
Tim Ferriss - How to React to an Aggressive Attack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5GPMHnH1zI
Simple Technique to Escape Rape: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D8r-wH0dkk |http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/avoid_rape.html
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