Self-defense begins long before the fight gets physical. Your first and most important line of defense is a heightened sense of awareness. Women Empowered teaches you the most common strategies used by both strangers and non-stranger assailants so you can prevent attacks before they happen. However, no matter how diligently you practice awareness and avoidance techniques, someone might slip through your defenses and attack you. Regardless of your age or physical condition, you CAN and SHOULD defend yourself, and the Women Empowered program will give you the tools and the confidence to make it happen.
The Women Empowered program is unique in that it is effective for all women, and it is the only self-defense program that effectively addresses what to do at all four phases of a sexual assault. Through correspondence with law enforcement officials and reports submitted by survivors, we’ve discovered that nearly all sexual assaults follow the same four-phase strategy: 1) Identify an unsuspecting target, 2) Subdue the target, 3) Exhaust the target, and 4) Execute the sexual assault.
Here is a detailed breakdown of each of the Four Phases of Sexual Assault, and the Women Empowered survival strategies that can be employed during each phase:
Phase 1: Identify an Unsuspecting Target
Assaults by strangers rely heavily on the element of surprise. This requires that they approach their target undetected. Accordingly, they target potential victims who are distracted, inattentive, physically weak, and/or timid; and they select locations that enable them to strike quickly and out of view of potential rescuers. Phase 1 ends when the predator has selected a target.
—Phase 1 Survival Strategies—
The most important Phase 1 defensive strategy is heightened awareness. Develop the habit of constantly scanning your surroundings, making direct eye contact with the people around you, and maintaining an alert posture. These practices will project confidence and readiness that will deter potential attackers from targeting you. In the Women Empowered program we teach you series of essential safety tips and awareness principles to reduce your vulnerability by limiting opportunities for the predator to surprise you.
Phase 2: Subdue the Target
Once within striking range, the predator will seek to subdue the target. Phase 2 begins with the initial contact. The nature and severity of the contact can range from coercive language to physical assault. Sometimes, the predator will verbally threaten or grab the target to gauge resistance. More often, a stranger will attempt to overwhelm the target with tremendous force, and then move the victim to a secluded site. Phase 2 ends once the predator gains full control and forces the target to the ground.
—Phase 2 Survival Strategies—
Phase 2 survival encompasses all actions that prevent the sexual predator from gaining physical control. In the Women Empowered program, we teach you how to escape from the most common attacks – wrist grabs, hair grabs, chokes, bear hugs, etc. – as well as how to use verbal assertiveness strategies to establish boundaries prior to physical contact. If the predator gains control of you, attempt to remain on your feet and avoid abduction at all costs. If the predator can’t get you to the ground or remove you from public view, he cannot advance to Phase 3.
Phase 3: Exhaust the Target
Phase 3 begins after the predator has subdued the target. The predator will attempt to physically and psychologically “break” the victim’s will to resist by pinning them to ground or striking them. In Phase 3, the predator expects the woman to panic and fight wildly to escape. This behavior hastens exhaustion and it feeds the predator’s need to control and dominate the target. He knows that a demoralized and exhausted victim will more easily succumb to the sexual assault. Phase 3 ends when the predator believes that the target has mentally and physically surrendered.
—Phase 3 Survival Strategies—
In Phase 3, your primary objective is to escape and flee. This is where most other women’s self-defense programs mistakenly teach their students to panic, thrash about, and strike at their captor when trapped beneath them at this stage of the attack. In Phase 2, we recommend these explosive responses, as they can be highly effective when the predator is trying to subdue you. However, once the predator has pinned you to the ground in Phase 3, this type of behavior is extremely risky as it quickly depletes your energy and saps your will to fight. The keys to survival in this phase are to avoid panic, conserve energy, and escape using a leverage-based technique when the opportunity arises. Although there are dozens of women’s self-defense courses that provide sound strategies for Phase 1 and Phase 2 survival, the Women Empowered program stands alone in its ability to empower women for eventualities of Phases 3 and 4.
Phase 4: Execute the Sexual Assault
Phase 4 begins when the predator attempts to rape the victim and ends with the completion of the crime. During this phase, the assailant will rely on the target’s exhaustion, demoralization, and fear to maintain control.
—Phase 4 Survival Strategies—
If unable to escape during Phase 3, a “false surrender” signaling that you can or will no longer resist may create additional opportunities. In the Women Empowered program, we teach you to use verbal and physical cues to convince your attacker that you will cooperate using phrases like, “I give up,” “Please don’t hurt me,” and “I’ll do whatever you want.” When the assailant shifts from physically restraining you to preparation for the Phase 4 assault, you will have an opportunity to apply several Women Empowered techniques that will facilitate escape or incapacitate the predator. Feigning surrender is very difficult. In fact, it requires the same level of diligent practice as the physical techniques presented in the Women Empowered lessons.
The Bottom Line
Your ability to adjust your survival strategy to match each phase of the assault is vitally important. Note that the applicable techniques and your mindset change dramatically in each phase. If you select the wrong strategy, your actions may be ineffective or even counterproductive. Use your heightened awareness to reduce your chances of being targeted, but perfect the techniques and master the principles presented in the Women Empowered program to ensure that you have a realistic and reliable action plan if assaulted.
TOTAL EMPOWERMENT IN 15 LESSONS
The Women Empowered program consists of 15 lessons – 10 Core Lessons and 5 Advanced Lessons. In the Core segment, we will teach you how to escape the most common control holds, including wrist grabs, chokeholds, and bear hugs. You will also master the critical physical and psychological techniques that will enable you to avoid panic and escape from an attacker who has pinned you to the ground. In the Advanced Lessons, we will teach you how to defend against less likely but equally frightening attacks including techniques for defending yourself against a sudden attack from the rear or against a predator armed with a gun or knife.