With all the violence in today’s society, it may become easy to feel as though you are not safe. Whether it be walking down the street or standing up for yourself at school, it is important to stand up for yourself if something doesn’t seem right. It can be hard to speak up when you’re afraid of being ignored, ridiculed, harassed, assaulted, or even killed. The best thing you can do is practice how to defend yourself before a threatening situation arises.
If that isn’t possible, then you need to learn how to stand up for yourself now – here are some suggestions on how:
1) Be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on around you so that you have time to plan an escape route if necessary.
2) Figure out the best way to get help. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Otherwise, find someone with authority that is close by and ask for their help.
3) Set a timer on your phone or watch before you start yelling; this way, you’ll know roughly how long it took for someone to come save you, which can give you an idea of what to do next time if the same thing happens again.
4) Tell people what’s going on – You are not alone! Let others know what’s happening so they can try to either stop the problem themselves or protect themselves from getting hurt as well. Don’t be afraid of looking foolish… taking care of yourself is more important right now than worrying about what others think.
5) Trust yourself! You know you deserve to be treated with respect, so don’t let anyone make you feel like you are wrong for speaking up. Some cases of violence against women stem from not trusting themselves and their instincts… don’t let this happen to you!
If a threat is imminent, one thing that can help is to shout out a phrase such as “NO!” or “STOP!” Have your voice project through the air while staying firm and confident in your tone. It will take a lot of practice if you’re not used to yelling, but the more often you do it, the easier it will get. This shows that you mean business and won’t just stand there being victimized. Once the threat is gone, DO NOT turn your back on them and start walking away. You never know when they will change their mind and come for you again. Get to a safe place where there are other people and wait for the police if necessary.
This next step applies only if escape is impossible:
1) Be aggressive! If someone has cornered you or is threatening you with violence, don’t hold back – stand up for yourself! Make noise by kicking, stomping, screaming, whatever it takes to get the attention of others around you (or at least let him/her know that you won’t be an easy target). Your safety is more important than worrying about what others think of you yelling in public. They probably already think you’re some helpless victim anyway, so what do you have to lose?
2) If you feel like the attacker is getting ready to hit or stab you, then it’s time to defend yourself. Make sure that he/she knows that this is not going over well with you and make them think twice about whether their actions will be worth any consequences they might face – such as legal problems, lawsuits etc… The best way to do this would be a physical attack of your own like pushing, punching (though this could get you into trouble), scratching and even biting (this shouldn’t draw blood).
There are three reasons for doing this:
- It will throw him off guard
- It will let him know he won’t just get away with whatever he has planned, and
- It shows that you are not weak (in some cases, it could be worth your while to make him think this). No one wants to hit or stab a person who fights back.
You might feel like you’re overreacting because you’re afraid, but remember that feeling is there for a good reason! If you stay passive, then the threat still exists and will continue to grow if nothing changes. You can’t just allow someone else to mace, knife, shoot or beat you up – stand up for yourself!
These tips should help you figure out how to stand up for yourself but keep in mind that there are other things involved… such as learning what triggers certain feelings so they don’t escalate into something more dangerous, learning self-defense techniques and looking out for the signs of a potentially violent situation.
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