Straight talk about Mace…

Ahhh…Mace,   Doesn’t it just seem like the pinnacle of self defense ease?  You don’t have to train to use it, you can easily buy it, it’s cheap, and since it’s not fatal you don’t have to ask yourself the “could I kill someone” question before you arm yourself with it.

But SHOULD you arm yourself with it?

First off, let’s clear up WHAT mace is.  Mace and pepper spray are NOT the same thing, though used synonymously.  Mace is an irritant, like tear gas, and pepper spray is an inflammatory agent.  Mace makes eyes sting and tear, pepper spray makes them swell up and shut, causing temporary blindness.  It also causes the lung tissue to be inflamed when inhaled.  Personally, I carry Blue-face, because not only does it come with the tagline “turns criminals into smurfs!” but it is a defense spray with dye added so that the police or future potential victims can see that the attacker has been sprayed in the face.

Back to the question of whether or not you are going to carry mace/pepper spray.  Simply put, if you are going to use it as an excuse to do stupid things that you would normally avoid as unsafe, because it gives you a false sense of security, then you are better off not taking it.  I’ve been pepper sprayed twice (both accidental), and I’m telling you, it’s irritating, but not necessarily debilitating.  Also, when you spray it, it usually disperses in a wide stream that can easily catch the wind and blow back at you as well as the attacker.  To avoid this, you have to have the mace really close to the eyes so that the liquid remains liquid instead of mist.  Or buy a bottle that disperses in a stream, but those are harder to find.

If someone is close enough to be threatening, or even has taken the fight to the ground, mace can be an asset.  It can turn the tides of the fight in your favor.  But it is not going to assure safety and escape.  You can’t just spray an attacker in the face and expect them to run away crying.  I use mace as a way to blind them so that I can strike while they are distracted.  Mace is the start of the fight, not the end of one.  Spray them and then fight like an animal and then run for your life.

If you are determined to follow common sense self defense rules regardless of carrying it, then mace is a good addition to your self defense arsenal for the worst case scenarios.  But if it creates a false sense of security and will make you more likely to put yourself in danger, you are better off leaving it alone, because it’s just not effective or certain enough to even out the increased risks you may be taking.

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

Teach your kids that adults aren’t always right

The last couple posts focused on awareness and protecting children, and since I’m on a child abuse prevention kick right now I’m going to continue on from there.  The truth is, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make sure your child never encounters someone who wants to do something inappropriate.  From a babysitter, to a teacher, or a coach, you can’t always be there to make sure no one does something they shouldn’t.

One of the reasons children are victimized is because they are usually in an environment where the adult is always right, no matter what the child thinks at home.  They are used to doing things they don’t want to do because they are told to, and they are dependent and thus have to follow rules that may not even make sense to them.  Unfortunately, this blind sense of always being wrong compared to an adult leads to tragedy when a sexual conflict comes up.

***Trigger warning*** for anyone reading this who has experienced child sexual abuse, you should make sure you’re in a good place to read this, or come back later.

A child will may not be comfortable with the touching or the abuse that goes on, but if it is done by a trusted a adult, they will have a hard time saying no, or knowing that it’s wrong.  We have to teach our children that there are some things that no one can do, some things that adults can not be right doing, that no one can be right doing.

This doesn’t need to be graphic and traumatic.  For instance, using a doll or pictures in a children’s book to explain that no one should ever touch them in certain places, and if it happens, to scream no, leave, and tell another trusted adult immediately.  Too many acts of child abuse are more mentally coercive than physically coercive, the attack is dependent on the child being too afraid or confused to stop the assault or draw attention to it.  Even if it seems like something children shouldn’t have to face, it’s becoming more and more likely that they will face it, and to be armed, they need to have a rigid idea of what is and isn’t allowed.  They need to be taught that if they feel uncomfortable they always have a right to yell and find another adult.  And they need to know that they have a right to say no to people in authority.

Without going into more detail, I think you get what I mean about telling them.  And you can’t be TOO vague, like that safety kid’s song “stay outside of my line or I’ll tell on you” because kids are awfully literal and won’t understand.  They need to know locations and that touching and even being shown certain things is something to scream about and tell on.  That adults are wrong when they do these things.

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

Dangerous Barbie?

In case you want to skip reading the article, it’s a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a Barbie doll that doubles as a digital camera that could be used and exploited by pedophiles to get inappropriate video of children.

I know.  COME ON.  The sad thing about this article is not that the FBI finds it necessary to warn people about a toy like this, the sad thing about this article is that it’s spot on.  I thought considering today’s earlier post on child abusers this was relevant.  The FBI profiles these people all the time, if they see a threat with what should be an innocent children’s toy, it should tell you something about child predators.  They plot, they scheme, they think hard about ways to attack, ways to exploit.  This post isn’t so much to warn you about this barbie, but to warn you there are people out there that will take ANY opportunity and look at it’s potential for catching a child victim.  They understand children, who are so innocent and ready to love and so open to presents.  The phrase “candy from strangers” is pathetically accurate.  What couldn’t you bribe the little children in your life to do with the right amount of candy or presents?  While an older man holding out a Barbie is a huge creepy warning sign to an adult, it is a temptation to a child.  Watch out for anyone with a camera out around your children.  Watch out at the public pool for men diving under the water with goggles in the kid’s pool.  Never assume a place is safe or normal, never assume a toy or a stranger is harmless.

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

Let’s talk about kids…

Kids are stupid.  Really.  That’s why I wish people would stop having more kids than they can protect.

Any trip I take I see it everywhere, a young toddler in the front yard alone, a 7 year old wandering in the mall, a kid on the sidewalk in front of a store.  I could have picked them up and run off if I wanted to.

Protecting and supervising our kids isn’t enough though.  People close to us can also be harmful.  So here’s some tips on pedophiles.

1.  They LOOK for lonely, unsupervised, poor, or lonely/unhappy children.  Yes.  They do.  So remember when you want to yell or crush your child’s spirit you are saying to a potential predator that that child is less protected.

2.  They live near schools, and churches.  Even with laws that should prevent it, they do.  And they watch schoolyards.  Don’t assume your children are safe playing at even their most familiar places.

3.  They aren’t the creepers around the corner with the obviously sinister appearance.  If they were, they wouldn’t get parents to trust them with their children, and children to trust them in general.  They are charismatic, the favorite teacher, the soccer coach, and even in my friend’s case, the ice skating assistant coach.  Make sure someone is watching practice.

4.  Search your zipcode on a sex offender registry.  It will sicken you but at least scare you into awareness.  Just google “your state’s name” plus sex offender registry.  Remember it is illegal to use the info there for anything other than awareness and your own safety.  No harassment.  Read the fine print before you accept the terms to enter your state’s registry.

I’m sure you are all wonderful mothers or will be one day.  But this world is getting more evil.  It’s an awareness game.  No one wants to talk about something so awful, but if no one does, it leads people to think it’s okay to leave their children unattended.

Lots of people want to talk about the child molester problem.  Blah blah they are mentally ill, blah blah they will re-offend when they get out of jail.  And truthfully, our system does NOT properly address them.  So I was asked by someone once, what would you suggest?  How do we deal with predators?

My answer is to turn it over to families.  Educate people how to protect their own.  If each family protected it’s children, abusers would have no victims, and if victims decreased, so would offenders.  Because while most victims don’t become abusers, a good portion of abusers suffered monstrous abuse.

And one other thing.  This isn’t about hatred.  It isn’t about rejoicing when predators are harmed in jail.  We shouldn’t glory in anyone’s anguish, and I think we need to remember that we don’t know a person’s history.  I am in no way condoning child abuse.  I know personally that is it one of the cruelest, most unfair and traumatically scarring things that a person can choose to do to another person.  And one day they will be held responsible.

But I am saying that hate solves nothing, but love can help us protect.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions. is not liable in any way for actions arising from reading it.  Additionally, is not affiliated with the recent company that was founded nearly a year after my blog.

Sickened and saddened

What can I say today?  My heart is heavy fellow damsels in defense.  I came across some very disturbing news that doesn’t need to be shared, but I want to leave with you the following tips for keeping your children safe.

These tips are copied and pasted from the following site, not written by me.

Child molesters typically target vulnerable children. Keep your child safe with these tips:

  • Never leave your child unsupervised in a public place or even in your front yard.
  • Don’t allow your child to roam the neighborhood by themselves or even walk down the street alone.
  • Don’t leave your child at places that are havens for children, such as public parks, video arcades or even the mall.
  • Be sure you talk to your child about their body and their right not to be touched.
  • Continue to educate your child as they grow and start early

These tips are copied and pasted from the site, not written by me.

With peace in your heart

Someone asked in a class where we are studying conflict if you can defend yourself in a violent way, yet still be at peace within yourself and towards the person.  My answer was a definitive yes, and I shared an experience as a damsel in defense to illustrate my opinion.

When I was 18 I was waiting at a bus stop.  An older man was there, and he didn’t speak a lot of English, but he was obviously trying to communicate.  He pointed to me and asked my age, and wrote his on a piece of paper.  79.  He guessed mine at 30, and I could only stare at him incredulously.  Things took a turn for the worse when he put his hand on my thigh.  I froze, and then started to scoot away.  He continued, moving his hand up my waist, saying “very nice, beautiful, very nice”.  He moved towards my chest and held me with his other hand so I couldn’t merely squirm away.  My mind starting flashing through scenarios.  I could kill him, I thought, a normal attack on a 79 year old man could have devastating consequences, for instance a normal strike that could hurt a young male could trigger a heart attack in an older man.  It may sound weird that I was worrying about him at a time like that, while he was invading my space and wouldn’t pull away or let go, but the truth is, even as you are deciding that you must take action to stay safe, you don’t have to have hatred, you don’t have to WANT to do harm. But let me be clear, I would not have even been considering his welfare if I truly felt endangered and not in control of the situation.

I feel that we as women are compassionate by nature.  We aren’t cowards, but truly we do not like the idea of harming others.  There is no reason we have to let go of the compassion to defend ourselves.  That’s what it means to be a damsel in defense.  Especially in a case like the one I was in.  I fully support grip it and rip it in a dire straight, but in lesser situations I believe that the least force necessary to escape is the right way to go.

So I grabbed his hand, and pulled it away as I stood up to go.  He wouldn’t let go, and the way I had grabbed him is a way I was taught to move an offending hand, so that if they let go and let their hand drop away, they won’t be hurt, but if they resist, it will start to break bones.  Sure enough I heard a crunch, and I figure I probably broke his wrist.  And I ran.  Was I happy?  Yes, to get away.  But I was sad I had to hurt another human being, I was sad that I couldn’t stop the assault through words and pulling away.  But I would have been sadder if I hadn’t fought back at all.

A lot of factors went into my fairly non-violent reaction.  His age, his relatively minor level of assault (at least to start), his lack of weapons, the fact that it was broad daylight and in public so the assault was unlikely to go beyond a certain level.  I’m not suggesting that you act the same way as me, but I am suggesting that you weigh your defense options against the nature of the assault and the offender.  If you aren’t like me, and think you’ll panic, then forget it and defend yourself to the fullest of your ability.  As I heard in concealed carry, it’s better to be tried by twelve (a jury) than carried by 6 (pallbearers).  The law will hold you accountable if you use excessive force, but if that’s the only deterrent, then play it more safe towards protective your life and your privacy.

I don’t want this post to stop women from defending themselves, but I do want them to realize that you don’t need to be a hate-filled or violent person to stop someone from hurting you.  It’s okay to feel reluctance to cause pain and damage, as long as your first priority is stopping pain and damage to yourself.



Another website and a few tidbits

I like this website a lot.  It’s clearly done by a woman who cares.  There are some interesting articles.  I wanted to point out two things.

1. That moment you can’t defend yourself won’t only affect you, as in the case of this woman, who lost her child as well.

2. There are so many resources online for learning to defend yourself, with all the time we spend on the internet, just an extra five minutes looking at defense sites can make a huge difference.

I also recommend picking up a book, like one on Krav Maga, which is really excellent and easy to learn self defense.  There are just no excuses.  Even if you are a busy mother with very little time in the day, I know your free time is precious.  But so are your children, and making an investment in time to give yourself an extra chance to make sure you are safe and there for them as they grow up, and that you can protect them, is worth it.  A few ideas.

Take a self defense course in your area.

Go to the gym.

Work out at home, cardio for running away, weights for fighting someone off.

Go take a concealed carry class, if nothing else to become familiar with guns and safer around them.

Buy mace, and then read up on how to use it. Defense actions has a great post on it here:

Feel free to message me with questions about specific scenarios.  If I don’t have the answer, I’ll find it for you.

Sometimes a lot of things I know about defense are so familiar to me I don’t think to write about it, so if you have an idea for something you’d like me to post on, let me know.



Veteran’s Day: The Cost of Freedom

We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the difference between us two.
Osama bin Laden

We studied the movement of the radical Muslims yesterday in political science, and while I knew a lot of the info, I hadn’t realized just how much they want to annihilate us.  It is a culture of suicide-bomber hopefuls, of women who raise their kids with the hope that they can be martyred while killing non-muslims (us).  Here we have a generation of young men whose only hope for a life with any happiness is the next life.  Many suicide bombers went with the promise of paradise, of women, of happiness and all things they are not allowed here.  They were indoctrinated from birth, and it is still happening today.  Regardless of your political inclinations it is important to realize that we are still under attack, that we have been under attack, and we will be under attack.  That’s why we must be damsels in defense, not damsels in distress.

We have so many freedoms we don’t think about.  In Iran a woman who is raped must be killed by her family to regain the family’s honor.  A woman must cover her body because it is “dirty”.  The only reason we have the freedoms we are granted in the constitution is because we have men and women who put their bodies and souls on the line to defend our country and all that it stands for.

So today remember those that have died, and those that live with invisible and significant wounds for our sake.  We are so lucky to be here in America, and we need to recognize a high price is being paid for us in a fight we don’t see.  I recommend looking for a veteran’s fund to donate to, and of course, thank the vets you know.

And since this is a self defense blog, remember that we should fight just as hard as they do for our safety and well being.



Mental Defense

So my main purpose in writing this blog is to give women tips that don’t require them to do much more than think in a different way about their safety.  While I encourage self defense training and looking into concealed carry, those options are for you to explore, and I only have a few minutes of your attention each day to tell you whatever I can that may help.

A couple of thoughts on mental defense, by which I mean ways to stay safe through intelligence.  Knowledge is power, and all that, so knowing a few new things about escaping predators should empower you.

1. Confidence.  Attackers look for women who look like they won’t fight back, women who look away nervously and act afraid.  If someone is being odd and creepy, make eye contact and glare.  This is no time to be polite, and try to avoid hurting feelings.  Trust your instincts.  If someone is following you, don’t shyly shuffle forward hoping you are wrong.  Turn around and face them, and let them pass.  If they are a normal person, they’ll probably give you an odd look and go on ahead, but if they are a bad person, it’s better to show them up front you have noticed them.  They may decide you’re not a good mark and move on, or they may attack, but either way is better than you allowing them to follow you until you are somewhere secluded enough that they feel safe attacking you on their terms.  I was once on a date and we sensed we were being followed.  My date, nervous, sped up and started towards the parking garage.  I turned around to face the man.  If there was a confrontation, I wanted to happen out on the street, not in a dark garage.  As it happened I startled him and he walked off mumbling.  You never know, but I would rather have someone look at me odd than bet that nothing would have happened.  Plus when you turn around and face them without fear they think “why isn’t she scared, what does she know that I don’t” and that throws them off.

2.  Fitness.  This sounds more like physical than mental defense, but it takes some thought to put together.  Other than learning self defense something that will really help you is working out.  1. It makes you faster, stronger, and better able to fight off an attacker and escape.  But more than that, it gives you confidence, and confidence also deters attackers.  Double whammy.  So work on cardio for running and weight training for strength and muscle endurance.

3.  Be smart.  First this entails being careful about where you go in the first place.  If there is a dark area that you have to walk through, keep your cell phone handy, or even pretend to be talking to someone on it, it will give the impression you are less alone, and an attacker will think you have someone that will hear if anything happens.  Yes, I thought that one up with my own paranoia.  Once I had someone following me and I made sure to say over the phone to my friend “I’m so glad I learned a dozen ways to maim the genitalia of a man twice my size.”  He disappeared.  Yeah it sounds funny and in retrospect it was, but being followed is scary, however you cut it.  Also keep your mace or keys handy if you are being followed and about to turn around and start a confrontation.  But even better is avoiding dark areas alone.  Period.  Nothing is worth that late night trip.  Even if you are driving, you will be getting out of the car at one point, right?

See?  There are things you can do just to trick an attacker into thinking your dangerous, or in my case above, to let them KNOW you are dangerous.  I’m sure if you think about it you can come up with more as well.  If you do, please share them below.

Thanks, and stay safe and protect yourself damsels.


A New Kind of Rescue Fantasy

You walk outside the party, towards your car.  As you turn to unlock your door, you feel a threatening presence behind you.  You turn around, frightened, and see a cruel looking man lean over you, one hand on either side.

“Let’s have some fun” he says.

He grabs you roughly and presses into you, you try to scream but he covers your mouth.  For a moment you think about Damon, who you left inside, mentally willing him to save you…and then…

You slam your head forward into his nose.  As he falls back reeling, you follow by slamming your foot as hard as you can in a pushing motion into his abdomen pushing him away from you.  Not a damsel in distress, a damsel in defense.  As he stumbles back you pull your mace from your keychain and spray directly at his face, making sure to quickly turn around and away from the spray so you aren’t affected too.  At nearly the same time you run.  Either back to the party or the nearest group of people, or if you had nearly opened your car, into the front seat where you quickly slam and lock the door.  And of course then you call the police.  You were expecting a damsel in distress.  He got a damsel in defense and it left him the worse for wear.

I know, it’s not romantic.  It’s not the fantasy that fuels the sales of thousands of romance novels.  If you find rescue fantasies erotic, the kind where a handsome man appears just in time to deliver you from danger with his “always stronger than 10 other men” strength, you don’t need to be ashamed.

A psychologist told me once that in polling thousands of women, he had discovered that what women want more than anything is safety, and what they fear in connection with that is rape.

He explains that women, from a young age, accept many things.  From the time they play with dolls they know that they will grow up and give a lot of what they are to a man.  They will take his last name, have his children, and go where he goes.  I know this isn’t all little girls, but it certainly applies to a lot of the women I’m reaching out to.  Women raised in gentle and conservative environments.  He says that women are fine with this because the man they are with will provide safety.  I know this is going to upset feminists and liberated women, but I really do feel that there is something in a woman’s nature intrinsically connected with wanting protection.  From a biological standpoint it makes sense because we are smaller.

Men have a hard time understanding this.  They think romance novels are about the sex.  They aren’t.  The twilight series asserts this, with it’s frequent rescue fantasies and extremely limited physical intimacy.  If you took the time to open romance novels at the drugstore, you’d notice far more rescue fantasies where a man saves a woman from another man than you would see sex scenes, in my experience.  No women like talking about it, and no women like admitting it, but it’s still a reality.

In the mental image at the beginning of this post, I’m sure there was excitement, and then a letdown.  Even if it isn’t erotic to save yourself, there should a be a rush because taking care of yourself is empowering.  The next time you are reading or thinking a rescue fantasy, I encourage you to take a moment to visualize the same moment, but with you taking control of your own safety.  Even if that’s only screaming.  Picture yourself hitting and kicking and fighting for your life.  And if this inspires you to go take a self defense class all the better.  If nothing else, it will help you be more prepared mentally, because if your only mental image of being attacked is erotic helplessness, how will you be ready to fight for your life?  As I mentioned in my Your Own Knight post, men can’t be everywhere.

Besides, being able to take care of yourself is super hot.  Imagine how happy Damon in the above fantasy was when he came outside to see his lover ensuring her own safety.  It’s fine to still let yourself have rescue fantasies at times too, but I hope you’ll mix it up and let yourself be the hero sometimes too.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions. is not liable in any way for actions arising from reading it.  Additionally, is not affiliated with the recent company that was founded nearly a year after my blog.