Women face a different kind of violence from men, and with it comes different problems. 

Let's take a look at the 5 most commonly reported and documented attacks women face. I'll give you some very basic tips you can implement in order to avoid and deal with these problems.  

*Disclaimer: physically training to defend yourself against these attacks is by far the most effective method to survive these problems. However, having knowledge of what to do and what not to do will increase your day-to-day safety by helping you make smarter choices.*

 

1. A hair grab and drag

Commonly, criminals will look for the easiest and most low-risk ways to carry out an attack on a person. For women especially, it is simple for an attacker to take advantage of hair, especially if it's tied up and easy to grab. The attacker can come approach fairly unnoticed from behind and before you realise what's going on they can have a good grip on you and take you to the ground or a second location. 

What can you do to avoid this problem? 

 Both situations are to be avoided at all cost. One of the most basic things a woman can do (without self-defence training) is making sure she is switched on to the environment. She should do what she can to know who is around her by scanning her surroundings, limit distractions (like listening to music full blast, or looking at her phones while walking), and not letting anyone get physically close to her.

**I am not saying in a way, at any point in this article that a woman has to limit herself to avoid being harmed. Every woman has a right to wear her hair how she wants  - knowledge is power, and you deserve to be empowered and aware of what to look out for. **

 

2. Being pinned and choked against a wall.

This situation is usually one born out of two needs: to dominate and to express rage.

Domination: Typically a man will use this to physically let the woman know she is under his control and that she has no choice but to do what he says as he (quite literally) has her life in his hand/s. The man may want to make the woman go somewhere with him, or do something against her will. 

Rage: A situation may first start out as a verbal conflict and become progressively heated and increasingly violent. The attacker is filled with rage and only sees one solution to end the rage they are perpetuating within themselves. They may not 'intend' to end the woman's life, but it is easy for this to be the case (especially if they lose complete control of themselves).

Regardless of intention, it is a dangerous situation as it can escalate to unconsciousness or loss of life. The attacker can be done with one choking hand or two.

What can you do to avoid this problem?

You'll need to become aware of where you are positioned in your environment. Chances are there will be some sort of lead up to this attack, so you want to use that time to maneuver yourself away from any walls.

Once someone (particularly someone stronger than you) has their grip around your neck, it can become very difficult to fight them off. If you do have to fight them off, there are specific techniques you can use to remove their hands from your throat.

One of your most valuable tools is to strike hard and viciously to the vital points (find out what the are here) most accessible to you. Do WHATEVER it takes, bite, scratch, attack their throat, their eyes, ears, groin. You just need to create enough of an opportunity for them to let go so you can escape.

 

3. A rear headlock/choke using the arms

An attacker will likely choose to do this as a way to incapacitate her without a) giving her much of a chance to resist and b) reducing the risk of the attack failing. It is very much a 'stealth' attack.

The attacker will usually go with this method if they want to rob a woman (it does commonly happen to men too), or to be able to move her to a second location easily. 

What can you do to avoid this problem?

This is very much the same as the hair grab attack, in that you can only really be aware of your surroundings to avoid the problem. Through training, you cement into your muscle memory the techniques and attacks needed to escape this problem. With all attacks, the key is a fast response. The longer the situations go, the fewer chances you have of escaping without harm.

 

4. A Kidnapping grab and snatch from behind

If you are noticing a common theme here, then congratulations for being switched on. Criminals (like any predator), will look for weaknesses and find the most effective ways to exploit them. Approaching from behind ticks those boxes. 

With this situation, the attacker is either coming from behind and proceeding to grab the woman by the waist, lift her up and take her away. Or, the attacker is coming from behind, forcing one hand on the woman's mouth (to silence her), and the other arm around her waist.

The intention with this is to take the woman to a second location (whether it's a few meters or kilometers away).

What can you do to avoid this problem?

The same applies to the other rear attacks. If someone does grab hold of you and is trying to pick you up, consider dropping your weight towards the ground to make it harder for the attacker to lift you up. If you have free limbs, follow this up by elbowing backward to the attacker's face and head until he lets go or you can turn to a different position. 

There are a lot of subsequent problems that can arise from this, again training is the best way to learn how to limit these and deal with them.

 

5. A threat involving a knife or weapon at close range.

This one is kind of similar to the choke on the wall, in that weapons are used to make someone do something they would not normally consent to. The attacker will typically target a woman's face (an area that will show visible damage in the aftermath of the attack), or the throat; either touching the body or aimed toward those areas, while the other hand is grabbing the victim on an arm or shoulder.

This is different to a knife attack, in that the person wants something from you, if their initial intention is to kill you or hurt you, they would basically just go for it. It is important to know, that a threat with a weapon can lead to a knife-stabbing. 

 

What can you do to avoid this problem?

Your best option is to comply (give the criminal what they are asking for) if it is something materialistic - a phone, money or other possessions aren't worth your safety. Remember to follow the rules of TACOS when talking to someone who is threatening your safety: DO NOT Threaten, Antagonise, Challenge, Order, or Shame. Speak respectfully, make reasonable eye contact, and try to remain calm.

If the criminal is trying to lead you somewhere, you want to do everything in your power not to go. In this case using false compliance (letting the attacker think you will do what they want, while you find an opportunity to escape or attack), is a good tool.

 

Again, get to training to learn how to do this.Watch this space, our facebook page, and youtube channel for more information on self-defence, Krav Maga and how you can stay safer.

 

Article by: 

Daniela Lofaro

Krav Maga InstructorLead Women's Program InstructorKrav Maga Systems Co-owner