In the early 90’s Criminologist Christopher Berry Dee interviewed multiple serial rapists and killers. To this day it is one of the most extensive thesis in the mind of a human predator. An interesting thing that came about from this study was not about the ones that they killed or raped, but the ones they didn’t. The ones that when they were on the prowl to hunt they chose to ignore. In fact studies have show that women carrying themselves in a confident and aware manner can put off an attack by 80%. The majority of those interviewed mentioned that if there was any sort of aggression in those that they hunted then they would immediately abort, going so far as to say if a woman’s voice was even rough they would determine her not easy enough to attack. In Ripley County, Indiana a group of rapists and date rapists in prison were interviewed and almost all of them said they were looking for an easy target; someone they could tell would not put up a fight. This is amazing for those of us with chronic bitch face, statistically we have half this battle. Ironically this makes sense that predators would be the same human wise as in nature, looking for someone who looks weak and will not fight back; except with animals its for survival and food, with the human predator it is for control and humiliation to the victim.
In 2019 there were 298,190 reported females missing in the United States. Of that number 235k of them were between the ages of 11 and 21. Please note that this is reported cases. Do you know how easy it is to lose a teen girl in the foster care system? They only have to skip a state to be in the wind. In 2018 652,676 women were raped or sexually assaulted in the US. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports in 2008 there was a reported 29.3 rapes per 100,000 inhabitants per area. This is only reported. 81% of rapes are done by someone the woman knows, and almost all are ambush style, meaning they have to take advantage of a momentary weakness in order to succeed whether that is a blow from behind or a date rape drug. Here’s another thing, a recent study of rape survivors who visited the Emergency Clinic for Rape Victims in Stockholm reported that a majority of victims said that they did not fight back at all; during the assault they experienced a type of temporary paralysis called toxic immobility. Not something that is talked about in everyday women’s self defense classes or really many martial arts. Think, if that is reported rapes and that many said they felt that temporary paralysis, how many are not reporting and why?
Sadly statistics have become something that does not shock us anymore and these are shocking stats. These aren’t just 30, 40 or even 50%, these stats are the majority. 80% that if your demeanor is no nonsense you will not be chosen for an attack, and 70% reported toxic immobility during said attack. And then when you really understand the concept that these numbers are just those reported, those that are missing, the stats become even more staggering. I recently read an article of a woman in Texas who spends all day scouring reports of violent crimes against women in the United States; the numbers are astronomical.
The need for women to take steps towards their self protection is there, we can read it on social media every morning when we wake up. It seems that for women to take the stride to do so though gets shoved under that massive pile of other things to where it is not a priority. We develop a mentality of either, it won’t happen to me, or I will get to it later. I know a martial arts gym owner who told me that when he has mothers coming in wanting private lessons for their kids, he asks her to join the class. It doesn’t cost the mom any more than what she was going to pay and in turn she gets involved as well. I love that idea, a small simple solution. She was going to be there anyway and with that small concept she can start taking steps that could someday save her life.
Jorden Peterson, a world renowned psychologist and author of, “12 Rules to Live By,” said in his book that the very first thing he wants to emphasize if you want to change your life for the better is to sit up straight. Why? Why something so simple? The answer is how do you eat an elephant? This one bite at a time thing is actually more profound than we can fathom. One small thing can change the course of your life or someone else’s life. One small change can trigger exponential growth, but in the reverse someone taking one bite out of person figuratively can start the downward spiral of abuse. It is all cyclical, death by a thousand cuts or growth by sitting up straight. Dr. Peterson goes on in his first chapter talking about how just the mere feeling of a straighter spine can trigger things in ones brain that give way to confidence causing you to make more sure decisions, which lead to more success, and so on forth. In the reverse this is how women who have grown up in loving homes can end up in abusive relationships the abuser taking small bites out of her self esteem causing the spiral downward; but in turn she can change her course by small step bites out of her own elephant.
If a girl grows up hearing only polite and nice conversation by the men in her life towards herself and her mother, her standard is set pretty high for when she starts dating. The first crude or rude sentence a man says to her will put her off immediately. She has created a wide moat around herself for healthy protection and anyone less will not be welcome in her castle. Sadly a majority of women do not grow up that way and the standards are set low. Or they do grow up that way and the world takes small bites of her elephant and she slowly sinks lower in her expectations. I was raised in a good home and have loving parents, however the world led me to believe that in eighth grade it would be taboo for me to tell a teacher that I did not appreciate him massaging my shoulders during tests or lectures. This was something several of us girls would sit around and talk about after class, how uncomfortable we were. We would try and make light of it as if it were a game to try and alleviate the situation. It never was even a thought to tell anybody that this man touching us was practically unbearable. This later leads to a mentality in college that if a boy bought me a beer then I would have to sit and talk with him while I drank said beer. It never occurred to me that I could simply get up and leave if the conversation was uncomfortable or rude. I was 24 before I had this epiphany. I was done listening to the sexist jokes and crude language, I stood up with the bought beer, and left. It was still uncomfortable, but it was a bite upward. This grows into the realization that if I do not want a mans hand on my shoulder, I do not have to have it there. A person invading my space is the one who is crazy for thinking they have the right to be there, not me. And trust me, the first time you do the brush off they will make you feel like you are the one who is nuts. These may seem like simple things but they signify so much. They take their bites and you circle the drain farther and farther or you take your bites back onwards and upwards.
Recently I was walking into the Joplin mall with my two sons. A little off to the side I saw two teenage girls, maybe 17, standing near the curb closest to the parking lot. They were talking to what appeared to be a man they did not know. Their body language was clearly uncomfortable, I have no idea how the conversation started, but they were humoring a stranger probably their dad’s age for some reason or another. My mom alert was on high so I waited by the door watching while they finished whatever conversation was going on and they walked away from him towards the mall entrance discussing their awkward encounter familiar to conversations had in eight grade about a certain teacher. It occurred to me that this is how easy it is for a young girl or any woman to be taken, trafficked, and/or raped. A man who looks like a normal guy walks up to a young teen girl at a mall and asks for help. She may have her instinctual red flags going off in her head, but the ingrained bites of politeness overtake and she stays not wanting to be rude, becoming a predators easy prey. It’s that effortless. It’s amazing to me that we teach our children that adults do not ask kids for help in order to teach them stranger danger, but as women we do not tell ourselves the same thing. I would rather my daughter and women in my life give a firm or hell, even rude, “I cannot help you,” before the stranger even gets within 15 feet, than her be shoved into a van never to be seen again.
I have six daughters, three sisters, and countless precious women in my life. I want them to know how to eat an elephant. I want to emphasize that they can pull themselves out of whatever mire they find themselves in by inches, that they will add up. Recently I had a jiu jitsu instructor explain how a match is won that exact way, snatching those inches. I want them to recognize when someone takes a bite out of them and understand how to get it back. Be the mile long inchworm in their life to become a constantly better, stronger version of themselves. This is the first step in women’s self defense; a standard set, a wide moat built around the castle. I want them to take whatever small nibble daily towards their own self protection whether it is wandering into a local martial arts gym, watching a YouTube video on how to escape from the trunk of a car, or buying a bulletproof clipboard to stick in their backpack. All black belts in martial arts started as white belts. Anything, any bite that causes the start of constant upward growth to where when they are an old woman they can look back and realize they ate a whole damn herd.
Author- Christun Erwin
"Thank you for your words. They make an impact and its important that, human to human, woman to woman, mother to mother... you know that you make a difference, even to those you never knew your words" -Krystal