Advocates against rape push women's self-defense classes

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - People Against Rape or PAR for short is an advocacy organization that says women must always be on guard and use common sense while out and about. Par partners its clients with Charleston Krav Maga to teach women's self-defense. Women learn how to use their bodies and items they already have on them such as keys or even high-heeled shoes to fight an attacker.

In this demonstration, two Charleston Krav Maga instructors show how a woman could fight an attacker approaching from behind in a parking lot. It starts with basing your weight to make yourself heavy and putting space between yourself and the attacker so they can't lift you and then going on the attack yourself.

"You don't want to hit someone and make them go 'Ow.' You want to hit them and make them go snap, break something. I need to be striking at the face, at the collar bone, at the eyes, knees, groin, anything that will render them unable to come after you," instructor Jennifer Ayers-Millar said.

PAR education coordinator Meshia Means and Krav Maga's Jennifer Ayers-Millar work together to educate women of all ages throughout the Lowcountry to protect and defend themselves. Means says general safety advice is to be confident when out and about.

"Holding their heads up and looking people in the eye as the walk around because they reduce the chances of being assaulted if they are making contact with someone and showing a sense of confidence," Means said.

Ayers-Millar says even from a position where the attacker is on top you can fight back by kicking and if the attacker is carrying a weapon self-defense experts recommend fighting back because they say statistics show weapons are used mostly for compliance, not to injure.

"It is a method of getting you to do what I want you to do, fear and intimidation. Less than 9% of women who choose to fight back are injured more than cuts and bruises. You're always better to try to fight back," Ayers-Millar said.

Self-defense experts say you can use keys like a whip to hit the attacker in the face. They also recommend taking off your high heels when walking around and switching to flat shoes. They say you can use your heels as a weapon hitting the attacker in the face. They say because you are wearing flat shoes you'll be able to get away faster.

Krav Maga also tells women to try to fight back before leaving the scene where you are attacked if possible because a secondary scene is where the attacker would have complete control, and it will be harder to find you.

©2011 WCSC. All rights reserved.