RTE News recently reported on 17 year old Kate Mulhern from Navan, Co. Meath who was walking her new puppy around 2pm last week when she noticed a man following her. Kate, who is a brown belt in karate and has been training since the age of 9, noticed that her male follower had crossed the road and had jumped behind the wheel of a car before speeding towards her. He then got out of the car and grabbed her by the arm in an attempt to pull her in. Luckily, Kate put her karate skills to good use by kicking her would-be attacker in the ribs, causing him to fall back against the car. The man quickly got back into the car and sped off leaving Kate shocked and terrified. Kate attributes her escape to her karate training.
Kate Mulhern speaking to RTE News
“While it gives discipline and control to hit each other and not hurt each other in training, in the scenario I just experienced we’re trained to know how to fight back too.”
With more and more incidents like Kate’s happening throughout Ireland, it is more important than ever to know how to defend yourself.
Here are 5 handy tips to help any modern woman escape attempted attack;
1. Take a class:
Self-defense classes are a great way of learning how to protect yourself in the event of an attack. There are, however, other more mainstream classes which can help in this regard too such as karate, kickboxing and Jiu Jitsu. Just as Kate pointed out, these types of classes teach you an array of different skills and moves which can come in quite handy in a tricky situation. Kickboxing, for example, is widely taught and focuses on a combination of kicks, punches and knees. When particular moves are done right, they will ‘almost always’ break a jaw, crush a larynx and shatter teeth’ – perfect for fending off any attacker!
If you can’t take a class, at least watch a few YouTube videos on self-defense.
2. Carry a small bottle of perfume, hairspray or antiperspirant in your bag or pocket:
Pepper spray is an effective tool which is often used by An Garda Siochanna when immobilizing attackers. When peppers pray is sprayed in the eyes of an individual it temporarily burns and impairs vision. While undeniably effective, the use of pepper spray is prohibited for civilian use under the Firearms Act 1925. Fortunately, perfume, hairspray or antiperspirant can have a similar effect on the recipient when sprayed directly into the eyes. Although not as effective as pepper spray, it might aid as a distraction, giving you enough time to escape unharmed. Always leave the bottle uncapped and in an accessible place (i.e. pocket or top of handbag).
Screaming at the top of your voice when approached by an attacker can have several benefits; it can help attract the attention of anyone in close proximity, it can startle the assailant, ensure you are breathing properly and it increases your adrenaline levels which in turn gives you more speed and strength
4. Carry a bottle of water/juice:
The brain views being hit by a solid object as a one-off event but it views being hit by liquid as something ongoing which must be escaped form. Even though water will not have any physical effect on an attacker, when it is thrown into one’s eyes, it acts as a deterrent which may buy you some time in escaping.
5. Aim for the feet or nose:
If your first instinct is to fight back, make sure you use your opportunity to target somewhere worth while hitting as you will probably only get one chance. Grinding your heel into the small bones of the foot or punching the nose will have a lasting effect on your assailant. The foot and nose are both made up of cartliage which can be easily broken and targeting these areas is your best bet in injuring your attacker.
If you think that someone might be following you, alert someone for help as soon as possible and report the incident to An Garda Siochanna.