EVERYDAY WEAPONS - A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND!
DR. RUTHLESS COLUMN
- Self Defense For Women Magazine
By Melissa Soalt
this: Betty Jo is home alone. Wearing
her favorite flannel nightgown,
she shuffles into her u-shaped
kitchen and fixes herself a cup of “Sweet
Dreams” tea. Suddenly, the kitchen
door is kicked in, and the prospect
of sweet dreams turns into her worst
nightmare. “Shut up, shut the
f… up!” the hulking man
spews as he closes in. Fearing for
her life, Betty Jo backpedals in horror,
becoming trapped in a corner. The attacker
slaps and punches her, knocking her
to the floor.
The rest of Betty Jo’s nightmare appears in the morning papers.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Quick thinking, savage
instincts and a surly survival mindset could turn her nightmare
into his horror story.
How many objects in this scene could be used as a weapon?
Let’s replay this with a different ending, taking it from the moment
the attacker enters: In spite of her terror, Betty Jo glances around hunting
for and maneuvering closer to weapons of opportunity. She feigns weakness,
pleading to buy time, but has already set her mind: The only way out is through.
Taking matters into her own hands, Betty Jo erupts like a fireball.
She grabs a nearby metal colander and whips it at his eyes. He
flinches, and by the time he recovers she has already snatched the
boiling pot of water from the stove and thrown it in his face. Never
wasting a moment, she slams her handy cast-iron pot cover into his
mug, backed up by all her might and a bellicose war cry. As his
hands reach for his pained face, she assails him with knee strikes.
In spite of being struck back – adrenaline really is a wonder
drug – Betty Jo grabs her attacker by the hair, smashing him
face first onto her granite countertop. She kicks his legs out from
under him, grabs a knife from the counter and bolts out the door.
The morning paper reads: Betty Jo Goes Ballistic - Serial Rapist
in Prison Hospital!
My version is dramatic and idealized, albeit. I don’t mean
to suggest that striking back is always the best or safest option,
but it illustrates a crucial lesson: Self defense means being adaptive.
To be prepared you must own your world and learn to transform everyday
objects into weapons of opportunity. Bad guys shouldn’t be
the only ones doing this.
Something For Everyone
Today’s technology should work for us. Why “go physical” and
ruin my makeup if I can zap a bad guy with my stun gun and make
it to dinner on time? But overlying on your firearm, pepper spray
or device-du-jour is dangerous. Violence pops up when women least
expect it. Your body and whatever is within arm’s reach is
all you can initially count on.
Once you know how to use your body to generate power and you possess
resolve, the deep muscle that funds all acts of self-protection,
a pen in hand, junk on the street, or a hallway fire extinguisher,
when used against a vulnerable target, becomes a handy, dandy weapon.
What follows are a few examples. But remember: Even with a “weapon” in
hand, never expect one strike or surprise attack – e.g. hot
liquid in the face - to enable escape. A pumped up aggressor can
take a lot of punishment, so get your Mojo in gear and go maximum
- Ball Point Pen: This everyday writing tool can become a
deadly weapon when thrust into the soft tissue
of the throat, under the jaw line
or—in a life-or-death
encounter—the eyes. The
point can also be driven into a groin
or “punched” into
the thin-skinned back of a hand.
implements: Golf clubs, broomsticks,
wine bottles, etc. can be thrust into
vulnerable areas or used to strike (and bust) knees, hands,
or the head. When held sideways, stick-like weapons, including
umbrellas, can also be rammed into a neck or face.
- In The Kitchen:
Choose from cutlery, pots-n-pans
(a pot cover worn on the hand will add
zing to any palm strike!), cutting
boards, or piping hot coffee. A metal soup can, jar or ceramic
mug can be struck into the temples or face,
swung back into a groin or used
to bust a collarbone, disabling that arm. Hardcover books—such
be thrust into a throat or smashed
into a face.
- Sharp Objects: A knife,
letter opener, scissor, or piece of
glass can be an effective fight stopper.
One woman stabbed her rapist with a steel comb
from her purse. It worked; she escaped.
- Objects With Weight or Mass: A boom box, heavy vase or small
table - can be slammed into the
face or torso. Don’t merely toss the item; keep it close
to your body then charge into and through your
- Makeshift Shields: One physician
shielded himself from a patient’s oncoming knife with
his briefcase. Large thick books could
also fit this bill.
- Stuff It! A pillowcase containing a
hard-hitting object – a brass candlestick, giant ashtray,
your defunct toaster – could leave a lasting impression
on Mr. Rapist’s
face. (And for you campers, a nice
rock-in-a-sock makes a stunning
- Environmental Terrain: If immobilized from behind or lifted
off the ground in a confined space
(elevator, ladies room, kitchen)
get one or two feet onto the edge of a countertop, or any
flat surface, and shove off as
hard as you can. You have padding behind
you – him! He will “eat” the
- Distraction: Buy yourself
a moment, then take control. A towel
thrown over the eyes could work. So could dirt,
sand, household products (and of
course, pepper spray) aimed at the face and
eyes. In the 1995 film Copycat, Sigourney
Weaver fights for her life with a
serial killer on a restroom floor. Even with
her hands chained together, she slashes
him with a piece of glass, then squirts shaving cream in his eyes.
This distraction allows her to deliver a killer side kick and
flee the restroom.
Reconciling Internal Conflict
In spite of my battle-girl persona, I too can think of few things
more repugnant than smashing or cutting another human being. The
use of aggressive force, and subject of weapons, grates against
femininity and feminism’s non-violent ideals. But talk and
empathy are not always saving graces. And estrogen doesn’t
make us sissies!
To effectively bring any weapon to bear you must vanquish the inner
muggers - voices of doubt, can’t, shouldn’t - and overcome
moral or spiritual conflicts. (Example: I’m a worker for peace
/ I’m about to bust bones.) A divided heart can jeopardize
your ability to unhesitatingly strike back when seconds count and
your survival may be at stake.
Reconciling the forces of dark and light, the maternal and killer
instincts, are deeply personal matters. But when women give themselves
permission to do “what it takes,” owning the fact that
this violent capacity is part of our female inheritance, they often
claim their greatest strengths, and can jump these hurdles like
a tiger through hoops.
Feminist author Robin Morgan said it best in the 1970’s when
advocating that women acquire self defense skills. “These
skills are only tools; they have proven murderous or at least exclusive
options in the hands of men; they could be liberating in the hands
Instead of shunning aggression, let us view it as a resource.
Keep The Force Alive
Here’s your homework: Wherever you are, imagine you are suddenly
ambushed. Give yourself three seconds to get a “weapon” in
hand with the emotional and physical readiness to use it. Practice
this often until it becomes second nature.
Visualizations are another powerful learning tool, so picture yourself
in scenarios like “Betty Jo Goes Ballistic.” See yourself
fighting back, wielding the tools of your environment like a Warrior
Goddess with Attitude.
Your spanking new motto: Harmony… or Else!
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