Violence against women is an everyday reality. Its possibility casts a shadow over many women’s movements in public and their safety in private. The possibility of assault terrorizes women, to the point where many feel unable to walk alone at night, ride a bus alone, or even to wear certain clothing.

One answer to this threat is women’s self-defense.

How many times have we heard that a woman was asking for it, or that a woman was lucky that she survived an assault? When a woman survives an assault, she wasn’t lucky. She was strong. Self-defense teaches women to say “No!”to sexual violence in ways that cannot be ignored.

The first step in defending yourself is becoming more aware of your surroundings. Look straight ahead instead of at the ground, stand up straight instead of letting your body collapse in on itself, walk with a purpose. Confidence means you project yourself out to people. Making yourself look confident often makes you more aware of the space you inhabit, and the people inhabiting it with you.

Women need physical techniques to stop physical attacks. Fighting back depends upon women’s ability to act for themselves. Fighting techniques can range from yelling, running from an attacker, striking vulnerable body parts (knees, throat, eyes, nose), to crippling an attacker.

The key to fighting back lies in the transformation of fear into anger into power. To move from fear to anger, women have to believe that they are worth defending. When you realize that you have worth, an attack on your person becomes unacceptable.


Combining verbal and physical techniques increases women’s strength. In an attack situation, using your voice transforms fear into anger into power by pushing energy out at an attacker. Verbally demanding that an attacker stop attacking, yelling loudly to attract attention of any people in the area, striking the attacker to make him stop, and running to get away. All of these techniques combined increase women’s ability to stop an attack.

Women must do whatever is necessary to get away from an attacker, while insuring that the attacker cannot continue the attack. Most important: use every move possible to defend yourself. There are no rules, just do whatever you can to protect yourself. Spit in his face, suprise him, throw dirt in his eyes, yell, scream, bite him, do whatever it takes to give yourself a chance to get away.

Here are some other dps:

Hit at the attacker with the palm of your hand, not your fist. Hit hard at his nose, or knock the chin upwards from below.

Hit across the attacker’s throat with the side of your hand.

If the attacker is really close to you, grab his face and push your thumbs forward to gouge his eyes. Or grab the tip of his ear and twist forward, try to rip it off.

Grab, kick, punch, or knee him in the groin whenever you have the chance.

Try to kick him in the knee, but not from the front, try to kick from the side. The knee will break easier that way.

If you would like to know more about self-defense, find out if your community offersclasses. If you are a student living away from home, you can check with your school, orthe YM/YWCA to see what courses are available.