2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Interesting Article on Damsel in Defense


“Sure, Damsel in Defense’s mission — equipping, empower, educate — is well-intentioned, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money. But pink pepper spray and other products that are marketed in a way that clearly implies women can only ever feel comfortable protecting themselves if their self-defense is accompanied by ditzy copy won’t cut down on gender violence.”

-Katie J.M. Baker

+1, and I loved the comment section as well.  Gosh it’s been two years now since I started the blog, one since I had to share my name with this company…I wish I could just change the name and move on but I want to leave my content here to help women. *shrug*

On another note I’ve been writing other projects because coming here gives me a bad vibe and reminds me of unpleasant things, so I’m happy to say I’ll have links to new stuff for you soon.

Great Kid Friendly Movie Rating Site


Just wanted to mention a site I like,


I think it’s a valuable tool for any damsel in defense.  Since I’ve been talking about children a lot, I remembered this is a great site to go to if you want to protect your children mentally as well.  It breaks down everything in the movie, by profanity, sexuality, and violence, and rates each on a scale.  Spoiler alert.

I’m glad I pepper sprayed myself in the face.

So about 7 years back, long before the damsel in defense blog was born, I came home to my college apartment with a huge case of pepper spray I’d gotten off of ebay.  I planned to give one out to each of the girls in my complex.  Then, because I’m a self defense weirdo, I decided that if I was going to give these to the girls, I should probably make sure it works.  I went outside with it, and meant to spray it down into a corner, but the wind had other ideas.  It hit me full in the face..

And you know what?  I’m glad it did because knowing exactly how someone who is pepper sprayed would feel really gives me insight into how and whether to use it.  It taught me respect for properly and conscientiously using and storing it.

Speaking of which, one of my brother’s friends left a keychain (disguised) pepper spray on my mom’s desk once.  I was holding my niece and saw mom shoot out of the den coughing.  As she passed me, she told me to get the phone.  I assume she’d been having a coughing fit and didn’t think anything of going in.  I had the baby turned into my shoulder, luckily, because what had happened is my mom had thought it was perfume and sprayed it, causing a cloud to rise around the phone.  I immediately tucked the baby’s head into my shirt, and ran out coughing and bleary eyed.  I knew exactly what had happened because it wasn’t the first time.

We all know about gun safety, and you wouldn’t leave a gun lying around for a stranger or infant to pick up.  It’s the same with pepper spray or any other self defense tool.  If you own it, you are responsible for it, for keeping it on your person and secure, away from little eyes or hands, and heaven forbid you leave it with a stranger.

It’s nice for some women that defense items have gotten a lot cuter, pink, and can be disguised as lipsticks or perfume.  But on the other hand, they don’t have the same obvious weapon look to them and could harm other women (Especially the perfume ones) and children who might think they are toys.

Bottom line, no matter how cute it is, it’s a weapon and deserves respect.  In fact, the less it looks like a weapon, the more careful you have to be to never let it out of your hands.

Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting you pepperspray yourself in the face.  This is just my experience and opinion, and hopefully you can learn from my experience and never experience it yourself.  I’m not responsible for anything you do or don’t do.

Voyeur caught at Deseret Industries and some more thoughts on kids.

As you know Damsel in Defense blog is pretty hung up on kid safety.


Just wanted to give the link to the news article I mentioned in the protecting kids post.  So glad there were people watching this man who saw what he was doing.  We really all can make a difference by looking out for the kids around us.  Being a parent is tough, and it’s easier to point fingers at unruly kids than to help them.  But we just need to remember these kids are the future for all of us, they will grow up with our kids.

I used to be a lot more judgemental, I used to look at kids running by themselves in unsafe places and just think ‘how could you have more kids than you could protect, or afford?’.  But that wasn’t solving anything

Then I started keeping an eye out when I saw a small child alone in a crowded area.  I’ve had multiple experiences where I caught someone following them, and when they turned back and saw me, they left.  The child found the parent and the parent was none the wiser about what could have happened.

And parents can be defensive, I know this well from being a lifeguard.  I would walk through the infant area, picking up kids who were facedown in the pool, drowning, because they’d been left in their lifejacket.  What parents weren’t realizing was that the lifejacket, once wet, makes it hard for an infant to regain their footing, and can actually hold them face down.  I would wade through, picking one up after the other and setting them on their feet, and I would often be yelled at by parents.  ‘Get your hands off my baby!’.  Sometimes they apologized when they realized I’d saved their baby’s life, sometimes not.  But it got me used to the idea of no gratitude.

I get the same sometimes when helping a kid find their parent.  I never touch the child, merely offer help and keep an eye out.  Even so, sometimes when they find the parent and they see me, I get nasty glares.  I’m guessing they just feel guilty.  Or embarrassed.  But I figured out years ago that it’s not for them, it’s for the kids.  If I have to make a few people mad to save a child’s life, I’ll do it.

Something to think about if you decide to put a child monitor on.  If it’s one of those that alerts you when a child is out of a certain radius, just remember that your own EYES should never let them out of that radius.  Remember how much can happen in the SECONDS you don’t watch.  It’s really too bad that society is like this now.  People used to watch out for children.  People used to be able to have confidence in taking their children out.  It just isn’t like that anymore.

I think like pepper spray, there are pros and cons to one of those monitors.

Cons:  If it encourages an attitude that it’s okay to let a kid run until he is out of range, then it is just a bad idea.  If it makes anyone feel more secure about their kids to the extent that they relax their watch, it’s a bad idea.  Also, It’d be easy to grab off a kid and throw away.

Pros: It’s insurance against the worst, to some degree.  I would prefer something with tracking so if someone picked up the kid and ran off, I could find them.  I also like the alarmed backpacks I saw at this website.  I’ve never owned one but I like that they are hard to pull off and are super loud and easy for the kid to equip.  THE MAIN PRO I think is that perhaps a child predator would be deterred by the monitor.  To me, they look obvious, maybe it would make a kid slightly less likely to be preyed on.

I really do believe that defense tools can be an asset, as long as the mindset of the person using them is right.

Damsel In Defense Blog in 20 countries!

Hey all,

I get thousands of views on the Damsel in Defense blog, but I’m particularly pleased when I see views from other countries.  Hopefully that means it’s being shared.  I read those numbers and just hope that someone somewhere is safer because of something they’ve read.  It’s been nearly two years now.  I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to write here.   It has helped me a lot to be able to come here and write whenever I’m upset by another news article about another rape or child molestation that could have been prevented by awareness.

Make sure and keep yourself, your children, and others and other people’s children safe.

In short:

1.  Educate yourself, get self defense training, and exercise due diligence in research on self defense weapons.

2.  Keep an eye on your children. Both eyes in fact!

3.  Help educate others as you can.

4.  Keep an eye on children that are without supervision in stores or other crowded areas.  Help them find their parents.  Even if you creep them out, they’ll learn not to lose track of them.  Every kid protected may result in many more being protected.

5.  Keep reading and find other great blogs and finding the best tools and stay in a damsel in defense mindset!

Protecting kids. Protecting ALL kids.

In my opinion A Damsel in Defense isn’t only responsible for defending herself.  I’m tired of seeing kids molested in the news when a simple parent’s eye could have prevented all of it.

For instance, recently a man was arrested for taking pictures up a four year old girl’s skirt in Deseret Industries.  This man was holding the four year old by the arm while sticking a phone up her skirt.  Where was the parent?   Pedophiles and attackers are everywhere.  Use family watch dog to check your neighborhood. Teach your kids how to scream. And first and FOREMOST don’t take them out and expose them to strangers if you aren’t going to keep your eyes on them!  The effects of child sexual abuse go on for a long time.  Why do people have more children than they can protect?

Also…you may not have trouble protecting your kids, but you may see kids who aren’t protected, and here is what I do about it.

If you see a kid wandering in a store, you can do what I do and keep an eye on them till they find their parents or help them find their parents.  Sometimes it weirds parents out, but at least it shows that if I could have been following them, someone else could have been.  Someone evil.  Just like rapists are looking for the woman walking alone, walking at night, and without confidence, pedophiles are looking for kids who aren’t protected, who are alone, who look uncared for economically or otherwise.

Not all victims offend, but most offenders were also abused.  If we can prevent more children being abused, we should be able to prevent more abuse happening in our world.  Protection and love for children is the answer.

I can’t stand what happened at DI.  I can’t stand that no one was watching, until he’d gotten this far.  I know we are all imperfect, but it’s time to step up our paranoia over our children’s sexual safety, and even the safety of other people’s children if that’s what it takes.  You can stop a soul from being damaged and hurt, and you’ll never know how far that will reach, who that will end up protecting.  Thank goodness someone did catch that man, and he’s in jail.

Titanic: Not a Damsel in Defense

When the Titanic crashed, she was no damsel in defense.  I saw the movie recently, and while I love it, I couldn’t help but see the parallels to how we can all sink if we aren’t careful.  No way to save herself, sending off desperate flares, and sinking into the ocean without any way to minimize the tremendous loss of life that occurred.  But how did she get to that situation?  Primarily two things, if I lump all the smaller technical factors together.  And these are the same things that can sink a damsel in defense as well.

1.  Overconfidence (led to running the boat too fast, not getting binoculars for the iceberg lookouts, and not turning in time).

2.  Refusal to acknowledge unlikely but possible risk factors (led to not having adequate lifeboats or proper emergency planning).

Everyone thought Titanic was unsinkable.  Why would anyone think such a thing about a huge hunk of metal?  Less sinkable, unlikely to sink maybe, but can you ever say something is impossible?  Marketing, that’s all it was.  Great marketing to get people on a big boat.  And you’ll see the same marketing from self defense weapons sometimes.  They’ll promise you’ll be unsinkable.  But you never know what can happen, and you should plan for the worst while hoping for the best. A damsel in defense watches out to make sure that the doesn’t think she is unsinkable and lead herself into a bad situation.

Self defense training and weaponry should always be a way of helping you be aware that all ships are sinkable and that there are icebergs everywhere, so you should have lifeboats on board and you should be careful how you steer.

That’s why I take issue with companies that promise you that their products will make you unsinkable, when really, there’s a lot of things you need to do to ensure you have the proper “lifeboats” for your ship.  If you are going to carry a weapon, make sure you are good enough with it that you can use it better than it will be used on you, and make sure you are strong and fast enough.  If not, and you just pick up some plastic defense toy and think it makes it fine to jog in the park at night, you are just like the Titanic, heading out into iceberg laden waters with no lifeboats.

If you are going to let anything make you feel invincible to the dangers in the darkness (or even broad daylight) make sure you prepare lifeboats for possible catastrophes.  If you are going to assume you are safe enough to go risking a metaphorical crash, make sure you have rehearsed and prepared for that crash.

1.  Acknowledge that you can sink.  Actions under this category include avoiding dangerous situations, jogging with friends during the day (jogging alone during the day and with friends at night are both still somewhat dangerous), taking awareness classes, volunteering at rape crisis centers to be really aware of the reality of rape, and anything else that keeps you aware of the “icebergs” out there.

2.  Prepare based on that acknowledgement.  Actions under this category would include getting weapons and training with them.  Also taking self defense courses that teach you how to use weapons, how to grapple, how to get away, etc.  Getting a concealed carry permit is another one.

None of these suggestions mean that you live in constant fear.  But would anyone have called the Titanic makers and captain paranoid for just putting the right number of lifeboats on and doing a lifeboat drill?  Who cares?  It would have been a way of caring more about the passengers than their own egos and convenience.  You seeing yourself as a sinkable ship navigating icebergs is a way of caring for the people on your ship, you and your family and friends.

So learn from the Titanic.  Steer carefully, keep a good lookout, and be prepared for the worst just in case.

As usual, this blog just my opinions and not professional or legal advice.

True Safety

I have my degree in psychology, and a psychologist from my university once told me that what women fear more than anything is rape, and that what they crave more than anything is security.  As the writer of Damsel in Defense and a feminist, it’s a hard concept for me to accept.

I’m sure it’s an idea that many of us recoil from because it seems like a pretty unflattering thing to say about our gender.  What? We don’t fear global warning?  Our legs getting cut off?  The end of the world as we know it?

All joking aside, he had interviewed hundreds and hundreds of women, and concluded that women fear being violated more than anything else.

I don’t have to dig deep to come up with several reasons this may be true.  It is an intensely personal violation.  It is painful, and it proves to us that we are unprotected.  It leaves us feeling helpless.  It infringes on a woman’s right to choose even the most basic things for her body, like who enters, and who can possibly leave a child that she will have to figure out what to do with.  I know many rape victims.

I think we can all agree that when we sink into our lover’s arms, we feel safe and content in a deep way that is unsatisfied by anything else.  This safety comes from a contextually secure place of mutual respect, love, and protection.

But it’s also important to create a safe place within yourself.  One that can never be taken away, even by rape.  If you are ready, and you fight as hard as you can when the worst happens, and you make the right choice about how hard to fight because you have prepared, thought through, and trained, you will find you are safe wherever you go and whatever happens to you.  Even if the outcome is devastating you will know a litte more that it wasn’t you.  You will know more that you were prepared and did what you could.  And in preparing for the worst, you will hopefully begin to understand that you are no worse for what has happened and that you did nothing to deserve it.

When your life is threatened, it’s natural to want to submit.  While this often may not actually help you with an attacker, it is your choice.  And if you choose to do it, rather than innately do it from shock, you have a better chance of not shaming yourself later.  You will know you made an educated decision to save your own life.  The best decision you could make in the moment, based on extensive preparation.

It seems morbid to prepare yourself for the worst.  But think how much safer you would go to bed at night, having fully explored the things that can happen and the meanings you would attach to them.  Imagine the worst, and how you would feel about yourself after, and if the place you reach isn’t loving, work until you could see yourself in a loving way no matter the outcome.  Rape is not the fault of the victim, but that doesn’t stop victims from blaming themselves.  Prepare yourself to think critically about rape.  Work hard to think of (and study) all possible ways to avoid, escape, and deal with the “unthinkable” things that happen every day, everywhere.

Again, if you love that peaceful feeling of safety when you are promised protection, when you are in your loved one’s arms and they are in yours, or when you are safe under your blankets behind a secured door, make it a priority to create a safe space in your head as well.  One where peace comes from knowing that you care about yourself enough to protect yourself in every way, to work hard for it, as you would want someone else who cares and has promised to care for you to do.  Create a space where you can figuratively go under the blankets, unafraid because you have someone protecting you with everything they have: You.

Thanks and stay safe all.

That is what being a damsel in defense means to me.  A full woman, capable, knowledgeable, fully aware and sentient.  Feminine and defensive.  Acknowledging female vulnerability, human vulnerability, and defending it.  When I thought of the name for my blog, damsel in defense said it all for me.  I’m still a woman, or a girl, and I don’t have to give that up to be safe.  But being a damsel doesn’t put me in distress.  It puts me in defense.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions and not professional or legal advice.

Sexual Harassment

At my last job, I was sitting in orientation and the lady next to me mentioned she had quit her last job because of sexual harassment.  Not towards her, but towards girls around her.  It had made her uncomfortable, and she had told the supervisor, but he wouldn’t do anything because the actual girl the harassment was targeted towards refused to complain or come forward.  I’ve seen this too often at different jobs I’ve worked at.  Girls will come up to me and complain about sexual harassment, whether it’s inappropriate language, or texts, or calls.  First off, I ask how the offender ended up with their number.  Then I ask if they have told the person to stop.  These women seem to think that they shouldn’t have to say anything, the man knows what he is doing is wrong, and therefore he is harassing by continuing.  Whether he does or not is something she won’t know until she tells him to stop.

I’m not sure what it is that makes us women so reluctant at times to tell an attacker off.  Even I have been in the awkward position of wondering if the harassment is worth pissing off a coworker or boss and delayed reporting it.  And I think many of us wonder if reporting it would do more harm than good anyway.  In my experience, reporting it means nothing unless you have told the harasser to stop what they are doing because it offends you.

I’ve noticed that I rarely get harassed now at work.  The creepers pass right over me for other girls, and I’ve realized a pattern in who they select for the most inappropriate behavior.  I decided to analyze how my behavior has changed to make me a more undesirable target than I used to be.

It’s all body language.  Sexual harassers seem to always do little tests before escalating behaviors.  They will rub your shoulder, ask for your number, and do other little things that while minor, seem a bit inappropriate.  They might make a dirty or inapropriate comment, they might curse, but they will always be looking at you to see how you react.  Watch your feelings, if you feel a bit uncomfortable, make sure you react honestly.  If you are nervous and smile back, or laugh, or turn away shyly, it has sent them the message that you are okay with what they do, or if you aren’t, aren’t going to do anything about it.  Then by the time you are ready to do something about it, it has escalated to a point where you hate your job and feel like he has all the power because if you report him he will say it is your fault too because you didn’t say anything.

It’s simpler than you would think to make yourself an undesirable target.  I just do what comes naturally instead of hiding it behind politeness.  If a man rubs my shoulder, I shrug away and look at him like “what are you doing?”  Sometimes I say “what are you doing?”.  If a man (or woman) says something offensive at work I say “That was offensive.  Ew.”  Etc.  People innately don’t like these reactions from other people, and it will often stop them in their tracks.

Now there are other cases, cases that won’t stop, cases that are more rare and pernicious.  But it’s best to figure out which these are early on, for your own safety.  If he’s the slightly awkward and creepy coworker who thinks you’re cute, he’ll back away when stood up to.  If not, you want to know early on so you can get to a supervisor.

It’s a lot like taking precautions while walking at night.  Make yourself the least safe bet to attack.  If you show in the workplace that you don’t like inappropriate behavior and call it out quickly, the really dangerous ones should be less likely to see you as an easy target.  This has worked for me.  At first it was hard to feel confident calling others out on their flaws, but you don’t know who is harassing on purpose or on accident otherwise.

You have the right to be comfortable at work, regardless of gender of victim or harasser.  You have the right to tell other people when they make you uncomfortable, and doing so will keep you much safer, even if it’s scary at first.  I feel that as a woman there is an innate need to please, to not cause trouble.  But avoiding conflict doesn’t alleviate trouble, it leads to it.

Just a few thoughts.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions and not professional or legal advice.