Book helps women learn how to stay safe

Rebecca Shields

Rebecca Shields

Walking around campus may not be as safe as once thought. Statistics from state that, “One out of every six American women has been a victim of an attempted or completed rape.”

These statistics are mentioned in Katy Mattingly’s new book, Self-Defense: Steps to Survival. Mattingly, who was raped at a young age, was then motivated to become an instructor and writer after her first self-defense class. “It’s shocking and unacceptable,” said Mattingly about the ratio of women raped in this country.

There are many women raped every year who also don’t report it for various reasons. One of the most common myths is, “Violent attacks are rare and not a major problem in my community.” Another is “Violence mostly happens to people who make bad choices. I’m smart enough to avoid it.” These are the most common misconceptions.

Every counselor will agree that rape is never the woman’s fault and no woman is asking to be raped. It is most common for women to be attacked by someone they know, either an acquaintance or a trusted friend. Another misconception is that men are bigger than women, making it pointless to fight back. A man’s size may actually be used against him and toward the woman’s advantage.

“It’s not the size of a woman in a fight, it’s the size of the fight in the woman,” said Mattingly.

Finding a place close to home to learn self-defense is easier than it sounds. At Victory Martial Arts, here in Brookings, Scott Bachmeier teaches self-defense that is useful in everyday life. Master Scott is a fourth-degree master in Tae Kwon Do and is certified in eight different types of martial arts, including Pressure Point Certification Techniques, an area that all police officers are trained in.

“One of the most important things to remember and understand,” said Scott, “is that there is no fighting dirty when it comes to saving your life.” He went on to explain that the most important thing to do is hurt someone bad enough to leave a mark (i.e. gouge an eye or get skin under your fingernails for DNA testing). This gives the police a better chance at making an arrest.

Some of the best ways to prevent an attack, according to both Mattingly and Scott, are to keep your eyes and ears open. Paying attention to your surroundings is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself.

Things that may hinder this are talking on your cell phone or being distracted in other ways. Mattingly also suggests being verbal. “Yelling is one of the most important aspects of self defense,” she says. In her book, there are survivor stories that talk about men running away because a woman was verbal and yelled to go away or stop.

The number of women raped every year shocked Jenny Kimball, an 18-year-old freshman and dietetics major at SDSU.

“It shocks and scares me, but you can’t stop living your life,” Kimball said. “You just need to be prepared.” When asked if she’d take an accredited self-defense class, Kimball said yes, and so did many other girls on campus.

Scott believes it would be a great asset to the school and would help many college kids feel safer and more confident. All experts here can agree that taking a self-defense class feels empowering and boosts self-confidence to a level most college students couldn’t imagine. Read Katy Mattingly’s Self-Defense: Steps to Survival to get the basic idea of what self-defense can do for your confidence and so much more.

#1.883311:4077598049.jpg:selfdefense_masterscott_BR.jpg:Master Scott instructs a Tae-Kwon-Do class in Brookings.:Blair Rau