Use What You Have

Upon leaving church a few nights ago, a woman was grabbed and shoved into a nearby alley. Her attacker then forced his tongue into her mouth. Unwilling to become a victim, she fought back using what was available to her at that moment–his tongue. And her teeth.

Biting is not one of the techniques taught in RAD’s Women’s self-defense classes. (RAD does not want the attacker’s blood to get into your mouth. Also, they want you able to yell, and to get plenty of air to fuel your defense. Some schools of self-defense, however, do sanction this technique.)

But back to our heroine. Thinking quickly, she used what she could, struck back fast and hard, and survived. In fact, her attacker was the first to flee the scene. When police arrived, they found “a substantial piece” of his tongue on the ground–about an inch long.

The point is, in a life-and-death situation like an attack, you do whatever you have to do. While RAD doesn’t teach biting specifically, we do teach you to use the tools you have to work with against the vulnerabilities of your attacker. Such improvised weapons absolutely can work for you. For example, at a sports bar in Florida, a woman fought off an assailant with her spike-heel shoe. After a few strikes to his forehead, he was unable to hit her again.

Then, there was the 58-year-old New Yorker who was sitting in a pew in her church, praying and making notes in her journal. A would-be rapist jumped on her and tried to push her down onto the pew. She stabbed him in the neck repeatedly with the pen she had been using to write with. The church’s security cameras recorded him running away, holding his neck.

There have been several reports of women, accosted in parking lots, who fought off their attackers by cutting their faces with car keys. One woman whose home was invaded threw a vase into a mirror in her den and slashed her would-be rapist with a shard of glass.

All of these events have something in common: the women thought quickly, moved quickly, and defeated their attacker. Choosing not to respond with fear and helplessness but with action, they outwitted muggers, rapists, and killers. There would be time to be scared later; during the attack was the time to think and fight for themselves. That’s just what they did. And how they won.

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One Response to “Use What You Have”

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