Monday, September 26, 2011

What It Takes To Stop An Assault (and how the media misrepresents that)

Alena Schaim
Executive Director & Instructor
IMPACT Personal Safety New Mexico

It takes less than you might imagine to stop an assault. Stopping an assault is not about “winning” or being stronger than the assailant. Research shows that the majority of assailants are looking for someone who won’t stand up for themselves or someone easily provoked*. Assailants are looking for someone who is easy to dominate and manipulate. It takes very little to demonstrate that I will stand up for myself and that I won’t buy into his manipulations.
This is why simple defense techniques work. By setting a boundary verbally or yelling, most assailants go away. 98% of our graduates report they have used their awareness and/or verbal skills to keep themselves safe. 2% report using a physical skill to stop an assault – and it was usually one or two strikes. Defending ourselves and staying safe has nothing to do with physical size, strength, or fitness. Effective defense requires that we believe we have a right to protect ourselves, the adrenaline management to act in the face of fear, and some knowledge of effective verbal and physical techniques.
National statistics reflect this trend. A study on effective resistance shows that 3 out of 4 attempted rapes are prevented (“Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women's Self-Defense”, Martha McCaughey.) Who knew?! What a great statistic! Most rapes are prevented! But in that same study, they found that 13 completed rapes are reported for every 1 prevented rape by news media. And then, when prevented rapes were reported, the headline generally still read “rape”, not “prevented rape.” That gives us the impression that rapes – and assaults in general – can’t be prevented when that is not true at all!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Every Woman Has a Right to Feel Safe Within Her Own Body

Katie Skibbe, IMPACT Chicago Board member and Instructor-in-Training, was introduced to IMPACT in 2007, when she took the Core program.  “I came to IMPACT,” she says, “because I was tired of being scared and feeling that I had no way to protect myself against an attack.”  Inspired by what she learned in the Core course and by the deep connections she formed with other students, Katie began volunteering for the organization.  In June of 2010, she joined the Board of Directors and was immediately elected Treasurer and appointed to the Board’s Executive Committee.  

Also in 2010, Katie was selected, following an intensive interview process, as one of two new Instructors-in-Training for IMPACT Chicago.  She is excited about the opportunity to expand IMPACT’s instructor corps and eager to guide students through the Core program.  “Every woman has a right to feel safe within her own body; and I look forward to helping women and girls learn to use their physical and spiritual power to defend themselves successfully.” 

 When she’s not volunteering for IMPACT Chicago, Katie works as the Assistant Finance Director for a local municipality.  She is also the Treasurer of the District 207 Education Foundation and a volunteer at the Des Plaines Historical Society.  She and her husband have just welcomed their first child into the world, and they are discovering that “time” and “sleep” are both precious commodities!

“I love being involved in IMPACT,” Katie says.  “The classes create such community; it’s amazing to see women who were strangers the day before offering support to each other and laughing together.  Lifetime friendships are forged in a weekend.  I come away from every IMPACT event feeling refreshed, invigorated, and hopeful.”

 Katie was interviewed by Amy Voege, IMPACT Chicago Board member

Monday, September 12, 2011

I Stopped a Thief

Joselyn Galvez, Northeastern Illinois University IMPACT Core Skills Grad

I used the Core skills today when a thief was about to steal my bike...and I want to share my story.

I work as an office assistant. I parked my bike on a pole that is almost in front of our window. I used a cable to secure my bike and wheel to the pole, assuming that nobody would try to steal it during
the daytime in a visible place in front of several business stores.

One of my friends always parks his bike on the same pole and nothing has ever happened. Then, I saw somebody messing around with my bike and I leaned back to check if it was my friend parking his bike next to mine. It wasn't!

It was another man moving fast untangling my cable. I ran out of the office yelling "What are you doing?"and "That's my bike!". My voice was loud and I was determined to prevent him from taking my bike. I put my hand on the seat of my bike and held it. I stood my ground and snatched the broken cable out of his hand. My female co-worker followed me. I kept yelling at him. He had a very confused look on his face. He didn't see us coming and wasn't expecting anybody to confront him. He was so fast that he didn't have the tool he used to cut my cable in his hand anymore.

He turned around calmly and walked a few steps, crossed the street and continued walking as if nothing had happened. My co-worker took my bike inside the office. I grabbed the office phone and called 911. I gave them a description of him. I asked the operator if she was going to call back and she said she didn't know.

I was shaky for a while. I can say that he was about 5 seconds away from stealing my bike. I'm proud of myself for being able to use the skills I learned in class. I didn't do anything to escalate the
situation, either.

There were other guys on the block and nobody helped. I was able to handle the situation effectively, even though I wasn't really thinking at that time. It was more based on my instincts.

I went to the police station to file a police report. Since the thief didn't harm me or officially steal my bike, I wasn't able to file a police report; I was only able to give more details on his appearance.

They never called me back, so I'm assuming he got away with attempted robbery.

Thank you so much for providing this class. I never thought I could intimidate a professional thief. He was taller and heavier than me. I'm sure it wasn't the first bike he was trying to steal.

I will change my route often to get to work and keep my bike inside the office. The police told me to call 911 right away, if I ever happen to see him. My only concern is that he knows who I am and knows where I work and knows my bike. I will be more careful from now on.