Risk embarrassment; it just might save your life

March 30th, 2012 by admin Leave a reply »

Contributed by Kathy McAfee

Last night I watched the movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo starting Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander. The movie tells the story of a man’s mission to find out what has happened to a girl who has been missing for 40 years, and who may have been murdered. The film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including one for Rooney Mara for Best Actress, and won one for Best Film Editing.

The movie was brilliantly written, acted and directed. The suspenseful music in the film was noteworthy as a powerful creative element. But the film was deeply disturbing to me. There was so much violence against women and girls.

This movie is rated R for “brutal violence.” It includes scenes of rape, sodomy, torture, murder, sexual exploitation and manipulation. In my opinion this movie is not suitable for teenagers (and definitely not children), even if they are used to watching R rated films. You have to have a real stomach to watch this film. I spent quite a bit of the film with my eyes closed.

There reason I am writing this blog is to address one particular scene in the movie. Towards the end of the film the serial killer’s identity is revealed. (I won’t spill the beans and spoil it for you.) The killer casually allures the investigative reporter inside his home, then entraps him in what becomes an unthinkable life-threatening situation.

The killer says to his newest victim (I am paraphrasing from my memory of this film):

“It’s always the same. People would rather risk the fear of embarrassment than the fear of pain. They don’t trust their gut instincts to their own detriment.”

The morning after seeing the film, I asked my husband (who is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do) what he would have done to protect himself in that case. There was a knife and a gun involved in the house. He said to me “I wouldn’t have gone in the house. I would have made some excuse about having something else to do and not taken his offer to have a drink and discuss something.”

I completely agree with him. You are almost always better off NOT getting in the car with a dangerous person; not going inside a house or a place that is more confining. That has always been my resolve. If I was ever in a life threatening situation where a perpetrator was ordering me to get in his car. I would say “you can shoot me now, but I’m not going with you!”

Of course, you never really know how you will respond in such an extreme and dangerous situation. Hopefully you will never have to take that test. However, I believe that there are things you can do to prepare yourself, to strengthen yourself right now.

Things you can do to potentially save your life from a violent attack:

  1. Take a self defense class or enroll in a martial arts program and learn the basic techniques of self defense. It’s a confidence builder and great exercise, too!
  2. Practice your kicks, punches and palm strikes. Learn how powerful your elbows can be. Practice these moves over and over.
  3. Visualize how you would respond to certain situations. See yourself winning time and time again.
  4. Vocalize your power. Learn how to shout and yell loudly. Try the phrase “No! Back Off!” and use it confidently if anyone ever gets in your personal space and presents a danger to you.
  5. Trust your gut instincts. If you sense something or someone is not right, remove yourself from this potentially dangerous situation or person. Don’t feel obligated to make it nice for them. Defend and protect yourself as your first priority.
  6. Get over your squeamish feelings. If you have to gouge his eyes to save your life, do it. It won’t kill him, but it will temporarily disable him, allowing you time to run away to safety.
  7. Stand tall and have confident posture and movements. Don’t look like a victim. Look strong.
  8. Set aside embarrassment, civility and niceness. When the time comes, you must embrace your inner bitch. Connect with the fierce warrior within you! You turn the tables on your attacker and you become the attacker. It’s your life – learn to defend it.
  9. When in doubt, RUN…and fast! My Tae Kwon Do teacher, Grand Master Yu, says that best defense is to run away; to avoid the fight; to get away from the danger. There’s no shame in running. It’s a smart self defense strategy.

Are you willing to risk embarrassment to save your life or the lives of those you love?

Seeing movies like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, as disturbing as it is, gives us the opportunity to think through scenarios and responses. We must learn from other people’s mistakes and misfortunes. Women are not the weaker sex. Women have the power, strength, intelligence and gut instincts to protect themselves. I encourage you to share this article with another girl or woman and have an open and candid discussion about learning to protect yourself. It can and must be done.



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