(Background image via Nakita Valerio)
My 8 year old daughter and I had the pleasure of attending a Women’s Safety Class in Edmonton, Alberta over the weekend. Although I won’t be able to discuss everything I learned from the class in this post, as it was a lot of information jammed packed into two hours, I will go over three key takeaways that I found to be highly valuable and beneficial information for women.
Organized and Instructed By:
This class was organized in order to address the concerns women have in regards to the rise in violence, and was hosted by Nakita Valerio- a very active member of our community within Edmonton. Recently, Nakita was named as an Edmonton “Difference Maker” for 2015 for her efforts in assisting women within her city, such as putting together this Safety Class amongst other commitments– congratulations Nakita, we are so proud of you!
The instructor for the event was Rachael Heffernan, a triple black belt karate instructor. I absolutely loved Rachael’s approach during this session, as she carried a very down to earth vibe, added a bit of humor into her talk all while maintaining a very professional presence.
Both Nakita and Rachael blog over at The Drawing Board, where Nakita is the owner and Head Writer, and Rachael is a Writer and Researcher; do check out this fantastic blog!
Three Key Takeaways
As I have previously stated, this information session and demonstration was filled with valuable knowledge; needless to say, this was one of those classes that gave me the techniques to feel more confident when out in public as a woman.
Although this class was organized for Muslim women in which we talked about Islamophobia and how to fight back when someone attempts to pull of your hijab, overall we were taught the basic methods of safety and defense techniques that any women would find helpful. Below, I’m sharing the top three things I learned:
Weapons of Defense in Your Purse-
The idea of having certain weapons with you at all times, like pepper spray in your purse, may be comforting, BUT what happens when you are unable to use that weapon BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FIND IT IN TIME?
Seriously, think about it ladies- how many items do we carry in our purse? As a mother of three, I have snacks, tissues and wipes, socks, lip balm, receipts, lollipops, and the list goes on; how on earth will I be able to find that darn pepper spray?! Hence, don’t worry about rummaging through your purse to find that pepper spray; instead use what you can immediately, like the purse itself, to attack the person coming at you violently.
What To Do If You’re Pregnant or Disabled-
I never thought of this before, which is another reason why I’m so blessed to have had the opportunity to attend Rachael’s class; but what do you do if you are afraid of falling and getting hurt when an individual is attacking you?
Some examples of who would be afraid to fall are pregnant women, someone who has had surgery, seniors, or people with disabilities where they are unable to stand without assistance.
With that said, if you are afraid of losing balance or falling, then fall gently to the ground yourself. Why would you do this? Chances are that if you are not stable while standing up, then you will be more stable sitting down or laying down on the floor. Once on the floor, use your legs, in addition to your hands ,to defend yourself (i.e kicking that person with your legs)- something you would not be able to do while standing.
Go For The….
We were shown multiple techniques on how to get away from a person who was attacking you, such as what to do when someone chokes you, grabs your hands by force, tries to pull your hijab off, and so forth.
One of the many techniques that was emphasized was using you hands, more specifically using your hands to poke at the attackers eyes! The eyes should be the first target you go for in terms of self defense because this will not only cause the attacker an enormous amount of pain and discomfort, but it will also temporarily block their vision and throw them off- which is what we want!