I am saddened and angry to hear about the news of Mollie Tibbetts. If you don't know what happened, she was a college student that went out for a run during the day, never came back, and they just found her body. My heart goes out to her family and to all the other families that have had to experience this same tragedy. Sadly, these types of things happen all the time with various outcomes. A simple Google search of 'women assaulted while jogging' returns 16 million results. Not all of them will make the news but it's clear that women can be put in vulnerable situations while trying to do something as simple as going for a run.
Before I even started SMT, I used run by myself at dawn or dusk on the National Mall. I hardly had any tools at my disposal except for a tactical pen and my common sense. Sure, I guess my common sense should've stopped me from running at those times but that is what worked best for my schedule and where I enjoyed to run. I would run with my tactical pen tucked into my sports bra and my awareness level on high. I was always looking behind me and making note of the people that were out running. I also varied my path each time because I didn't want to create a routine that would make it easy for someone to decide I was going to be their target. Thinking back and knowing what I know now, I wonder if I would've survived some type of attack. Sure ,I would've fought my ass off and made an attempt to use my tactical pen but I didn't have any real skills. I didn't have the physical self-defense skills, the proper tools, and the training on how to use those tools. In all honesty, I still don't think I'm anywhere near where I need to be when it comes to training but at least I'm taking small steps to build my personal security plan.
There is absolutely no reason for you to be left defenseless. This isn't just for people that run or walk alone, this is for EVERYONE. We can't stop the evil that exists in this world but we can do our best to prepare for it and find ways to give ourselves a fighting chance. The message of self-reliance and being able to defend oneself is so important. I wish this was something that was taught in schools or at least talked about on a national level. Along with the news reports about the tragedy, why can't there be a follow-up segment on what you can do to prevent something like this from happening to you?
Since the news won't do it, I feel like it's my duty to keep spreading this message. After all, it's something I'm so passionate about and part of the reason for creating SMT. I don't want this to happen to anyone especially when it's so easy to start taking your personal security and self-defense seriously. Here are a few easy things you can do now to start taking responsibility for your own safety.
Situational Awareness: This is FREE. All you have to do is put your phone down and pay attention to your surroundings. This is the number one thing you can do to help avoid a potential situation. You can check out my in-depth post about situational awareness here and below. When you avoid the fight, you win the fight.
Be Smart: This is also FREE. This sort of goes along with situational awareness but be more cognoscente in your day. If you have an errand to run, do it during the daylight. If you have to leave somewhere late at night ask a friend to walk you to your car. Ask yourself if it's a smart decision to take a certain route or go somewhere at this time.
Hand-to-Hand Self-Defense Classes: There are gyms that might offer limited style self-defense classes or you can look into more specific style hand-to-hand combatives type classes such as Krav Maga or Jiu Jitsu. You can not only get your workout in but you can also learn defensive techniques. The eyes, nose, throat, and groin are great target areas but get those reps in with sufficient training.
Carry a Non-Lethal Self-Defense Tool: If you're not ready or not interested in owning or carrying a firearm, then check out some other non-lethal self-defense tools such as a TASER, pepper spray, or stun gun to name a few. Many of these items are relatively inexpensive and can provide you with an opportunity to defend yourself and build distance between you and a threat.
I've highlighted a few previous posts below that I encourage you take a look at to help you get in the mindset and start thinking about your own personal safety. Don't be afraid to have these conversations with your family, friends, or loved ones. See if they have any thoughts or experience with this and what their plans are for safety. When thinking about your personal safety, ask yourself these questions to help get the conversation started.
- How will I defend myself?
- What tools or skills can I call upon?
- How can I make myself less vulnerable of being a target?
- What is the action I will take to ensure my safety?
It might seem daunting thinking about carrying a self-defense tool but it doesn't have to be. Self-defense tools are being made with materials that are lighter and stronger as well as designed to maximize concealment. There are companies like Alexo Athletica that were created exactly for this type of situation. Amy was training for a marathon and didn't like how she didn't have any way to properly carry her firearm while she ran. She had no way of carrying a defense tool. Her leggings are made for working out and athleisure but more importantly they have nine pockets that allow you to carry a number of different self-defense tools. It doesn't have to be a gun; I've personally carried a variety of tools in my leggings. I know my story led me to owning a firearm but that doesn't need to be yours if you're not comfortable with that. Although, I will say that I believe the firearm is the best tool to give you a fighting chance especially against an attacker that is bigger and stronger than you. However, it doesn't matter what tool you have if you don't train on how to use it.
Please don't brush off the news reports of women being assaulted and kidnapped as a mere, "this won't happen to me" thought. It can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Please let go of the thoughts that go, "but I live in a safe neighborhood." Safe neighborhoods don't exist. Don't let yourself get complacent with your routine or your preparedness mindset. Take your personal safety into your own hands and be responsible for it.
All that I ask, first things first, is for to put those electronic leashes down and lift your head up. Be aware of your surroundings and practice situational awareness. If you can see it coming then you have a better chance of avoiding it. If you can't, then have a personal protection plan, think through those "what if" scenarios, and get the proper training.
Simply put, don't let yourself be a victim.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is based on my opinions and for informational use only. I am not an expert in this field and any items/services/products/advice mentioned in these posts should be used at your own discretion, following the manufacturer's instructions, and in with your local & state laws. You can read more about my privacy & disclosure policies here.