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THAN PRACTICING YELLS, LEARNING MANEUVERS AND

TOTING PEPPER SPRAY.

protecting oneself is a mode of being, a habit of mind. it’s the way you think, talk and walk. at least that’s what it is to darlene

loiselle and christy herrick who co-teach “self-defense for Women” at minnesota state university mankato. “the best method of self-defense is to

avoid any situation where you would need to defend yourself in the first place,” loiselle says. recognizing that violent crime can affect

anyone at anytime, the two jotted down the following tips to help women reduce their chances of being victimized.

SELF-DEFENSE IS MORE

“if you are with a friend and you didn’t park together, always walk together to the closest car and then drive the other person to their car,” loiselle suggests.

#2 be ready to act.

more than 50 percent of all rape and

sexual assault inci- dents are reported by victims to have occurred within one mile of their home, according to a u.s. department of Justice study. so, take a moment to think about your

day-to-day risks. “statistics show that if you are thinking

about what could happen, you will be more likely to react and attack, rather than freeze up,” loiselle explains. “it’s similar to

Outsmart an

STORY BY RACHEL DREWELOW PHOTOS BY ERIC JOHNSON

ATTACKER

#1 be prepared and aware.

distraction allows assailants an opportu-

nity to attack. so, be alert and consistent in scanning your surroundings, herrick and loiselle advise. smart preparedness practices include holding your keys and keeping your head up when walking to your car or home — even if you are on a cell phone. scan the perimeter of your vehicle while you approach it — checking for shadows or people lurking, hiding or crouching behind cars — or even inside of your car.

how a diver will visualize their dive before leaping into the water.” this can be as simple as not answering

the door when a stranger knocks. instead, ask for identification and be prepared to call 911, use a weapon or an exit strategy.

#3 think like a creep.

Where would a predator hide? how

would a predator attack? Who would a predator seek? thinking like a creep will keep you a step

ahead. “carrying yourself with confidence will often take you out of dangerous situa- tions,” loiselle says.

#5 Keep a safe distance.

body language, such as crossing your

arms or walking away from someone in a bar, are distance techniques. there are also routine practices like not parking next to unfamiliar vans. you can even practice safe-distancing with the police. if a law enforcement vehi- cle tries to pull you over, you can call 911 to confirm that the police are following you. if you feel threatened, turn on your hazard lights and drive slowly to a bright, populated area before pulling over. Once there, explain to the officer why you did not pull over right away, herrick advises. “predators sometimes shop for their vic-

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Venus 2010 ♦ Southern Minnesota Magazine ♦ 15

#4 trust your gut.

intuition is that little feeling that tells you something might not be quite right. “if a person makes you feel somewhat

uncomfortable, even if you can't put your finger on why, listen to that feeling,” herrick says. the two suggest leav- ing the situation imme- diately and moving to a bright and populated

area if you have a bad gut feeling. and, if you think you are being followed, drive to a busy street or police station. never go home with someone in pursuit. you may be red in the face if it turns out

that you were wrong, “but this embarrass- ment is like winning the lottery when com- pared to being attacked, sexually assaulted, or mugged,” loiselle says.

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CRO

60 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

RIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS

CRIME SCENE DO NOT CRO

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