Thursday, July 19, 2012

The ABC’s of Self Defense presented by Author PJ Sharon

YA author PJ Sharon has some great advise for teens and women on the art of self-defense in a three-part series.

The ABC’s of Self Defense
Part One
I wanted to share some practical tips that every woman, young and old, should know about defending themselves against an attacker. I’ll start with some staggering statistics. Every two minutes in this country, a woman is raped or sexually assaulted. One in four college women are victims of rape. One out of every two women who are raped is under the age of eighteen. Twenty-six percent of high school girls have been the victim of physical abuse, sexual abuse, or date rape.

Does that grab your attention? It certainly grabbed mine. Although I have a black belt in martial arts, I never take for granted that anything can happen. One thing I’m certain of is that there are bigger, stronger, faster, and better fighters than me out there who have become victims of sexual assault. That’s why I think it’s so important to teach women how to stand up for themselves and learn some self-defense techniques that work every time. These are my ABC’s of self-defense.

Prevention is about avoiding situations that put you at risk. Even though some of this is common sense, women everywhere refuse to follow these simple rules.

Avoid poorly lit parking lots and walking alone in remote areas. Be aware of your surroundings. (That means don’t get caught up in listening to music with your ear-buds while running alone in a park or other such high risk behavior). NEVER get into someone’s car that you don’t know well. If you feel uncomfortable, trust your instincts and get away from whatever situation is tipping off your radar. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

 One of the biggest risk factors for sexual assaults and date rapes is the use of drugs and alcohol. It lowers our inhibitions, interferes with judgment, and affects reaction time. That means that even if you know how to defend yourself, if you’re under the influence, you are less able to utilize those skills. DON’T put yourself in a vulnerable position by compromising your ability to remain in control of your faculties.

There is strength in numbers. Hanging out in groups or staying close to a trusted friend will be a deterrent for an attacker. There are still no guarantees, but making sure you and your friends are prepared to defend yourselves will go a long way to keeping you safe.

You have the right to stand up for yourself. You have the right to change your mind at any time. You have the right to say NO! If someone approaches you and you feel threatened, put up your hand and say firmly, STOP! If they continue toward you, they are deaf and blind, or they mean you harm. Scream FIRE! And get away. It has been proven that people will ignore a cry for HELP, but will almost always pay attention to someone screaming FIRE!

 If you have been attacked, abused, or raped, tell someone. Many assaults and rapes go unreported because victims feel as if they have done something wrong, that they are somehow responsible, or they feel afraid and ashamed. The trauma related to a violent crime takes time and therapy to recover from, and keeping it a secret will only compound the emotional pain and suffering. Communicating is the only way to move beyond the wounds and find healing.

For more information and a MUST SEE video for about self-defense and rape prevention, check out this amazing site, started by a teen-age girl who started a movement.

Join me Wednesday for Part 2, the Psychology of Fighting Back. Then on Friday, right here at Marian’s place, I’ll be talking about some specific self-defense tips you won’t want to miss.
Would you know what to do if you were attacked? Are you prepared? What self-defense tips can you share?

Author's Bio: I knew I would be a writer someday when I was a little girl sitting on my grandpa’s knee and telling him stories that he would help me put on paper. By the time I entered kindergarten I could already read and write, and I couldn’t wait to look up new words every morning in the ginormous Webster’s Dictionary that sat in the book case at the bottom of our stairs. I would get on the bus and ask my friends, “Do you know what pulchritudinous means?” Between that and challenging the boys to push-up contests at the bus stop, I mostly sat alone on those bus rides to school. But that just meant I had more time to make up stories.
I went on to many other endeavors in life, including the world of figure skating, and later, earning a black belt in martial arts. Though I was a mom at seventeen, I did manage to finish school and somehow made it through college, earning a degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant. After nineteen years, two sons, a divorce, and some fairly lean years, I found that it’s true what they say about life beginning at forty. It was about that time when I reunited with the love of my life and worked my way to owning my own business as a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor—all of my favorite things. To make my bliss complete, I moved out to the Berkshires and found my muse waiting for me there amongst the lilacs and humming birds.
I now write Extraordinary Stories of an Average Teenage Life in order to share hope with others, especially teens, that no matter how tough life gets, there is always a bright spot waiting just around the corner. My published books include the award winning YA Novels, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, available through Amazon and B&N Booksellers.

Contact Information for PJ Sharon
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PJ, thank you so much for this posting. I look forward to parts two and three. It is important for all women to know how to protect themselves.


  1. PJ, thank you so much for being here today. I look foward to next Wednesday and Friday's posts also. I forwarded to a comment from a reader who thanked you for this article and she's passing it around to her friends. Marian

  2. Thanks for having me, Marian. This is such an important topic. I've had a woman comment that my post puts the burden of responsibility on women to avoid being victimized. My intent is in no way meant to place blame or make victims feel like they should have done more. Unfortunately, we live in a world where some men are still barbarians and we are forced to take this approach of hypervigilence. Just as we wear seatbelts and bike helmets, we need to take safety precautions for rape-prevention.

  3. It's just smart to be aware of your surroundings, it's the New Yorker in me.