Statistically speaking, women are more likely to be victimized than men. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network 1 in 6 women in their lifetime will be a victim of complete or incomplete rape or sexual assault. In contrast 1 in 33 men will be victimized in the same way. By the numbers this is astonishing and there aren’t many out there who would refute women being targeted at higher rates than men. In addition, media outlets consistently highlight abuse statistics that put women at a disadvantage of abuse survival due to factors such as guns in the home.
What those assessments neglect is that there is a systematic failure in our society to properly train and equip women to be their own first responders. Since the dawn of time criminals, by their very nature, use the tools that are available to commit crimes of opportunity. Since their goal is to get you to submit to their will, they will use whichever tool of intimidation is available. Is there a gun available? A knife? A rock? A fist? Whatever they have available and consider the most intimidating to their target they will use. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that perpetrators of any crime need to be held accountable, but at the same time, we need to hold ourselves accountable for our own safety.
However, if you have never been “in the know” for how to go about getting training this can be a daunting task and if you’ve been conditioned to believe that you need someone else to protect you, then it can be downright intimidating. But recognizing that you need training is the best first step ever because in this day and age you’ve got plenty of options to choose from.
Once you’ve made the decision that you need training you will need to decide which route will be best for you in your current situation. Do you want to learn to use a gun or are hand-to-hand skills more what you’re looking for? Do you know a lot about the legal system in your state in regard to self-defense or are you starting from square one? Have you thought about what you do in your daily life to stay safe, or are you just becoming aware that there are prevention strategies? Have you thought about the potential legal and emotional ramifications for using any sort of self-defense in today’s society? No matter which avenue you take, there are programs out there welcoming newcomers into the fold.
Refuse to be a Victim
An offshoot of the NRA, this program is designed to teach prevention strategies for all aspects of your life. The 4-6 hour program is geared toward those who are just getting started on their personal safety strategies. However, even seasoned individuals will find a few gems as takeaways from this important but often overlooked program.
Designed by FBI agents in the D.C. area in 1993, the information continues to evolve with the ever evolving world we live in. Originally designed as a women’s only program, it quickly became open to anyone interested in learning more about life safety strategies. Discussion of different force levels and options for personal safety are included. Firearms as a tool of self-defense can either be discussed or left out of this program making it a great option for those looking for a workplace safety program or those who may be hesitant to discuss firearms when taking the course.
If you would like to learn more about the Refuse to be a Victim program or find an instructor near you visit: RTBAV.NRA.org.
R.A.D. Systems International
R.A.D. is a comprehensive self-defense program. They have programs ranging from women’s basic personal defense, women’s advanced personal defense, and men’s personal defense, to keychain defense, aerosol defense, weapons defense, R.A.D. for seniors, R.A.D. for kids and more. This ever-growing body of instructors and programs has lead the way on college campuses for 30 years in order to see individuals be better prepared to protect themselves and mitigate the likelihood of becoming victims.
Their programs include mindset as a key component alongside techniques that are designed to work in the situations and with the bodies of their target audience. The differing situations that women and men find themselves in as related to self-defense are vastly different and the R.A.D. programming recognizes this and calls attention to it for the betterment of its participants. The mindset component encompasses not only the mindset of self-defense but also how to help change the stigma of rape, what to do in the event of an assault, and how to support someone (and yourself) in the aftermath of an assault.
Many local and college campus police departments run programs along with numerous independent instructors. For more information or to find an program near you visit: RAD-systems.com.
A Girl & A Gun
Founded in 2011 A Girl & A Gun Women’s shooting league (AG & AG) has quickly become the go-to women’s organization for learning all aspects of the shooting industry. Whether they are putting on the Fall Festival to get women involved in the sport of 3-gun shooting, National Conference to bring their members together for great training on competition shooting and self-defense techniques (including first-aid), or helping to protect our women in blue, Julianna Crowder and Robyn Sandoval work tirelessly to make sure their chapters and national events are empowering to the women who attend them.
While each chapter facilitator can focus on the aspects of shooting that work for their chapter, the culture and purpose is the same: to create a judgement free zone for women to come together and learn more about the shooting industry. Whether you have never touched a gun before, or have years of experience under your belt, your local chapter is ready to bring you into the fold.
This is important because receiving high quality training is of the utmost importance when discussing the use of potentially deadly force in self-defense. All chapters are lead by certified female instructors who receive continued training to ensure the best possible outcome for all members. Additionally, through participation in your local chapter (or national membership if there is not a chapter in your area) you will receive information on how to best plug into programs in your area.
From making suggestions about who to take a concealed carry class from, providing opportunities for one-on-one instruction, or advice on holsters and other accessories, the camaraderie and knowledge you will find in your chapter is a phenomenal asset to anyone looking to make this level of commitment to their personal safety.
For more information or to find a chapter near you visit: AGirlandAGun.org.
U.S. & Texas Law Shield Programs
One of the most overlooked aspects of the self-defense world are the legal ramifications of self-defense. While it is convenient and easy for us to put off truly learning the ins and outs by saying, “It’s better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6,” the life-long legal ramifications of the use of force in a confrontation should not be overlooked and your lack of understanding may prevent you from being as effective with force as you could be if you did have a better understanding.
Most state sanctioned concealed carry classes include a primer on the legal aspects of carry, but as for the day-to-day realities many who have self-defense plans lack in this area. The more advanced training you take the less likely you are to learn about the laws as you should already have an understanding of the laws. No matter your chosen form of self-defense it is important to learn your legal rights as in some states punching someone can carry similar ramifications to use of a tool such as a gun. Fortunately, there are programs such as U.S. & Texas Law Shield that can help us understand at affordable prices.
At its core U.S. & Texas Law Shield provides cost effective self-defense insurance coverage. Their slogan is Legal Defense for Self-Defense and they cover the use of any legal weapon in self-defense. As a member your attorney-client privilege starts the moment you call the hotline number on your membership card. Anyone who has a self-defense plan and who has trained should consider insurance for just such as time as your homeowners policy is more than likely lacking in coverage for anything related to self-defense.
The real core of why they are in this article is due to the program attorneys at U.S. & Texas Law Shield putting on seminars and workshops to help you better understand self-defense laws in your state. While they are not in all fifty states yet, residents of forty-four states and the District of Columbia can take advantage of these programs which are free to members and $10 to non-members of U.S. & Texas Law Shield. If you aren’t lucky enough to be a U.S. & Texas Law Shield state look for a local attorney versed in self-defense law and see if they will do a free consultation with you so that you can gain a better understanding of your state’s laws on self-defense.
For more information or to sign up today visit: USLawShield.com.
Remember, the first step is the hardest. The courage to decide to fly in the face of society, take your well-being into your own hands, and become your own first responder is one of the strongest statements you can make about yourself, and for yourself. Contact one of the above organizations and get started today because no one else will ever care as much for your safety and well being as you will! Stay safe and never stop learning.