Here are a smattering of #selfdefensesuccess stories that have across my screen these last couple of weeks.

Important to remember: I’ll bet none of these women ever took a “self-defense” class (though at least one had military training).  The two most critical factors in successful self-defense are (1) the belief that it can be done, and (2) trying one tool after another until something works.

From Louisiana, a 72 year old woman routes armed attacker with nothing but her steely instincts and a fire extinguisher. Woman’s son later describes his mom as “a pretty strong old fart.” Yeah, that’s how I’d have described my mom too.  http://www.dailycomet.com/article/20131231/ARTICLES/131239885/1320?p=1&tc=pg#gsc.tab=0

Now going north to Ohio:  woman uses voice, attracts bystander attention. Bystanders call police. Police arrive in time to see the woman running out of the house, followed by man with knife. Man is subdued and arrested!  http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/news/police-man-attempted-to-rape-woman/ncZbw/

Some self-defense stories are more graphic than are others.  This one is graphic.  Let’s jump across the globe, to Bangladesh.  In this instance, a woman fights back against an acquaintance by cutting off his penis and bringing it to the police.  http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/woman-cuts-penis-man-attempting-rape-her  The wanna-be rapist then claimed that he was the real victim, because they had been having an affair, he refused to leave his wife and children and move with her to another city.  So, he claims, she cut off his penis and is pressing rape charges to retaliate.  This attempt to deflect responsibility is a common tactic among rapists.

And now back to the glorious Puget Sound, the last one for today is from former student “E” who relates a self-defense success years earlier:

“When I was a young college student, I often passed through New York City to get from my parents’ home to my college in upstate New York. On one such visit, I was walking down a street and felt like I was being followed. I made the decision to act irrationally: singing to myself, walking with a twitch/jerking motions. I tried to act like a mentally unstable person. After a while, the man stopped following me, and I’m certain that if I hadn’t, I would have been attacked.”

Do you have a story to share?  Contact me!

Do you want to learn some of these skills that proved successful for others?  A plethora of six week Self-Defense 101 for Women courses are about to begin in the next week.  Visit the page and register today.

Once again, ripped from the headlines (actually, more often inside pages) from the web.  These are all stories of women and girls successfully using safety skills.

This first one is from West Seattle, where a high school girl fights back against a dude who grabs her.  She breaks free, runs to safety, and calls 911.  Way to go!  From King 5 News: http://www.king5.com/news/cities/seattle/Teenage-girl-grabbed-by-man-near-West-Seattle-High-School-235301801.html

How about this one, from our neighbor to the south (that’s Portland, OR).  A guy demands a Portland State University student’s backpack and punches her.  She turns and punches him back, and he goes running!  From KXL FM News Radio:  http://kxl.com/2013/12/12/female-student-hit-in-the-face-fights-off-attacker/

Now from South Carolina, where this guy picked the wrong target.  What he did not know was she’s trained in martial arts.  Whoopsie!  She fights back, and again he goes running (do you see the pattern here?).  http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/animal-rights/man-attacks-woman-walking-small-dog-myrtle-beach-she-has-black-belt-fight  (Pssssst — you don’t need a black belt to fight back like she did — you can learn the same techniques in Week 3 of Strategic Living’s 6 week self-defense course.)

Let’s jump across the Atlantic for this story out of the United Kingdom.  Woman kicks guy in crotch, and he runs away.  http://www.newmarketjournal.co.uk/news/latest-news/woman-38-fights-off-mobile-phone-thief-1-5757252.  Almost surprised he was able to still run.

And, finally, we return to the greater Seattle area.  Woman fights off attacker on a popular trail in the middle of the afternoon.  She was attacked from behind, and she escaped by fighting back.  http://q13fox.com/2013/12/19/woman-reports-assault-on-north-creek-regional-trail-in-bothell/#axzz2o2Fx8aC6.

Did you see a story in the news, or want to share one of your own?  Contact me!

I’m going to be posting every week or two a smattering of stories ripped from the headlines.  They all will be on women or girls who were attacked and thwarted the evil-doer’s dastardly plans.  They all, preferably, will give some details on what the defender did that worked.

For this week, our first story is close to home (Seattle, that is).  A young woman bit her attacker’s hand, continued fighting, screamed for help, and ran for help.  This story was in The Seattle Times, and you can read it at http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/11/young-woman-fights-off-attacker-in-south-seattle/http://blogs.seattletimes.com/today/2013/11/young-woman-fights-off-attacker-in-south-seattle/.

For our second story, we travel to our neighbors north, to Canada.  In separate incidents on the same night, one guy attacked at least two women.  Each woman did the same thing, according to the new story:  screamed and fought him off until he fled.  This one was apprehended by the police.  You can read the Edmonton Sun article at http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/11/27/two-19-year-old-women-fight-off-attacker-man-arrestedhttp://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/11/27/two-19-year-old-women-fight-off-attacker-man-arrested.

Our third story is from the other side of the Atlantic.  A man attacked a young woman after she dropped her child off at school.  This woman fought, kicking her attacker in the groin.  And he fled.  You can read the story in the Manchester Evening News at http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/pictured-sex-attacker-fought-woman-6350863.

And our final story is from our nation’s capitol.  A woman attacked while taking out her trash fights of attacker (good job on getting rid of the trash).  You can read this brief story on the WTOP site at http://www.wtop.com/58/3515082/Capitol-Heights-woman-fights-off-attacker

If you come across any self-defense success stories, or have stories of your own you want to share, please contact me.

Alert reader Donna saw this article in Oprah’s magazine.  It recounts how one woman out jogging used the self-defense skills she had learned in a class long ago.

As I was reading October’s issue of “O” Magazine on a bright, sunny Seattle morning this weekend, I came across an article written by Kris who describes how the self-defense skills she had previously learned in a women’s self-defense class came in handy one dreadful day when she was almost raped.   Fortunately, Kris had remembered the physical and verbal defense skills she had learned and put them to work when she was attacked.   Physical self defense tactics are one of the most important skills a woman can learn. 

You can read Kris’ story online.

Kris recognized the reality of imminent physical harm, used decisive targets, and used her voice effectively.  Kudos to Kris!

And thanks to Donna for sharing.

PS – do you want to learn what Kris knew?  A new cycle of six week self-defense courses will be offered beginning this coming January.  Can’t spare 6 weeks?  Try the five hour self-defense seminars — next one is December 15.

. . . both domestic violence, both violent assaults. One ends in murder, the other in resurgence.

This first article highlights the self-defense class given to honor a woman killed by her estranged husband. This class raised funds for a scholarship for a Jefferson County resident who plays softball, basketball or volleyball. The story never mentioned if Mary Daniels, the murdered woman, has a love of any of these sports, or why the funds were to go for softball, basketball or volleyball specifically.  I would have expected some sort of donation to a domestic violence education program or shelter. Nonetheless, good to see that about 100 women learned some skills.  Too many women wait until they need the skills immediately before taking self-defense seriously.

This second story is a bit different. The woman survived. Christy Martin is a fighter, literally. She’s a boxer.  Her to-be-ex had been her trainer.  She told him she was leaving, and he declared that if he couldn’t have her, nobody can.  He almost managed to kill her, but she was able to escape and flag down a passing car.  In her 40s, she was generally considered way past her boxing prime, but just over 3 months after being left for dead, she will again enter the ring.

Three essential keys to successful physical self-defense are (1) recognizing when someone has the potential to harm you and taking preventive measures, (2) knowing some effective physical skills, including escape strategies, and (3) attitude.  Attitude underlies the other two keys.  Success, and not just in self-defense, hinges on attitude. 

But, if you’re a regular reader of this blog, that shouldn’t be news to you.

In light of recent attacks on women joggers, I was interviewed on KOMO Radio live! We aired Tuesday, December 21 at 12:46 in the afternoon, and you can listen to it here:  http://www.StrategicLiving.org/Joanne_Factor_on_KOMO.mp3.

One point of contention is whether women should be running in the early morning hours or in the evening, when it’s dark outside. I say yes, many runners enjoy the calm and solitude at those times, or that’s really the best time for them. I also say recognize that you are at higher risk for assault, so be prepared and aware. The bare minimum self defense skills you should know are (1) which are higher-value targets on an assailant’s body (eyes, throat, groin, knees), and (2) use your voice LOUD (give direct commands, such as STOP! or LET GO! or BACK OFF!).

To date, those women who have been assaulted succeeded in fending off the attacker. They fought back and used their voices. And prevailed. You can too. The next round of self defense classes will begin in about a month, see the schedule at http://www.StrategicLiving.org/classes.htm. And have a safe holiday shopping/jogging season!

Do you have a story to share? I’ve noticed some outstanding self-defense stories in the news lately.

One was this 12 year old girl who heard a noise downstairs, went to investigate, and came face to face with a hooded intruder. Not only does she kick him in the crotch, after he runs she draws a sketch to make it easier for police to find the guy.  Read the story at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299920/Home-girl-foils-burglar-groin-kick-draws-police-picture-him.html.

Then there’s the 13 year old girl who fought off a guy with a knife! Read her story at http://www.thegrio.com/news/13-year-old-girl-fights-off-knife-wielding-attacker.php.

And a third happened here in Seattle, when a woman jogging in Seward Park fought off an assailant. Read her story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013154472_attack14m.html. This woman was reported to have said to her assailant, “not me, not here, not now.” Many students in my recent classes read about this attack, and took this woman’s mantra to heart.

“Not me, not here, not now.” The power of the story.

Over twenty years ago women were dismayed to see virtually no self-defense success stories in the news. They reached out to the community — posters, ad in papers and on campuses, word of mouth — and were rewarded with an overwhelming abundance of first-hand reports of successful self-defense.  The results became Her Wits About Her: Self-Defense Success Stories by Women, edited by Denise Caignon and Gail Groves, and is a classic in self-defense studies.

An article in the current issue of the academic journal Violence Against Women explores the power of the successful self-defense story. Author Jill Cermele notes these critical benefits of telling women’s self-defense stories.

  • First, they are real examples of real women successfully defending themselves. When more of us know what other women have done successfully, we are more inclined to use resistance.
  • Second, by telling successful resistance as an event that happened, rather than a non-event, we recognize that women have positively acted and DONE SOMETHING POWERFUL.

[from Telling Our Stories: The Importance of Women’s Narratives of Resistance, by Jill Cermele.  Violence Against Women, 16(10): 1162-72, 2010, http://vaw.sagepub.com/content/16/10/1162.

Please share! I’ve begun posting stories I find, or that others have found, on my Facebook page. If you come across any stories, please email them to me or post to my FB page. I can assure you that other self-defense instructors will re-share them. The more the word gets out, the safer we and our communities will become.


Dr. Patricia Rozee, a well known rape researcher, and Michelle McKenzie are conducting a research project on examining characteristics of rape resistance strategies in completed and attempted rapes. They hope to document the most effective strategies in preventing future rapes. This research is through California State University, Long Beach. They are looking for women, 18 years old or older, who have experienced rape or attempted rape, to take an anonymous, online survey that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.




http://www.raperesistance.org/survey.html