Self defense is as mental as it is physical. There’s a mental shift that needs to happen before you are ready to defend yourself. It’s not just about learning how to use your body to fight back. It’s not just about learning to pay attention to your surroundings and look for potential dangers. It’s not just knowing how to react and what to do. It’s also about being ready to do so.
This involves a two-step process that you’ll need to embrace and embody. And the sooner the better, because you never know when it can happen to you. But it probably will.
That’s the first lesson.
Step 1: Embrace That It Will Happen To You
The first step is to embrace the fact that this can happen to you. And likely will. Every 73 seconds, someone in America is sexually assaulted. 1 in 6 US women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
I know how you feel. I never thought it could happen to me either. Not really. You hear the horror stories and the statistics, but you still think it won’t be you. I didn’t. I was the quintessential tough girl even at a young age. I was the tomboy who did martial arts and played sports and lifted in the weight room with the boys during PE. I was a regular at the arm wrestling table at lunchtime. I anointed myself the unofficial bodyguard to my friends. I got a bit of a reputation for being a fighter. And I got in fights. So it was a huge shock to me when it happened.
Now my story wasn’t nearly as bad as it is for so many others. But that doesn’t make it any less real or valid. And the same goes for you. Remember that.
How It Happened To Me
Our relationship was troubled from the start, or very shortly after the start — as soon as the honeymoon period wore off, which was pretty quickly. There were many warning signs, many breakups, and a lot of emotional abuse. But I ignored all of them. Excused them away. Assured myself that he’d change, that he loved me, that it was worth it. And despite the warning signs, I still didn’t think it could happen to me. I didn’t realize it was already happening to me. I couldn’t see the reality I was in. He was my first love. My first everything. I thought this was what true love was supposed to be.