Classes offer self-defense tips for women
Alden Bridge resident Al Sanchez isn't afraid to say it out loud.
In fact he's echoing what many women are wondering.
"I believe this is a stalker," said Sanchez, who has a master's degree in criminal justice and more than 40 years experience in law enforcement, investigations and video surveillance.
Sanchez is referring to the Dec. 24 abduction of a woman leaving Molly's Pub, and the Jan. 28 attempted abduction of a woman jogging on Gosling.
Lt. Dan Norris of the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office won't speculate as to whether or not the same guy is responsible.
But whether it's one assailant or two, the cases are still open and remain unsolved, which means he, or they, are still out there.
"It is important for women to take it upon themselves to defend something that is priceless," said Sanchez, owner and general manager of Defend Technology Inc. "And that is their lives."
One such way is to take a self defense class.
Fred Vogt, a Woodlands resident and author of "See Sally Kick Ass: A Woman's Guide to Personal Safety," teaches at the Aikido Center, 1045 Pruitt.
He said his classes are built on the four "A's" Attitude, Awareness, Avoidance and Action.
"For attitude, learn how to project a strong image," Vogt said. "Criminals are looking for people who look like they aren't necessarily going to fight back. Stand tall, don't slouch."
Awareness means doing things like constantly scanning your surroundings.
"I always tell women their job is to get from the store to the car safely, not to talk on the phone," Vogt said. "Get in your car, lock the door, put on your seatbelt and leave."
You can always ask somebody from the store to walk you to your car, Vogt said, or wait until a crowd is leaving and just blend in with them.
"If you get the first two parts of attitude and awareness, that will help you avoid a lot of issues," Vogt said.
But sometimes a woman just finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time, Vogt said.
If the worst happens and you're about to be sexually assaulted, you should make yourself as disgusting as possible.
"Put your finger down your throat, throw up, urinate, defecate, smear it all over yourself," Vogt said.
And hard as it must be, try to remember as much as possible about the assailant.
"When you contact law enforcement, we needs as much detail as possible," Lt. Norris said. "The more detail, the better to help aid the capture of an assaulter."
Sanchez said women can purchase sunglasses that record audio and video for up to eight hours before requiring a re-charge.
Another possibility is something simple but effective.
Get pepper spray.
Sanchez said a three-in-one product is the most popular.
It has "oleoresin capsicum" pepper, which is designed to cause the assailants eyes to slam shut, he said. Second is the tear gas, which causes an intense burning sensation. Third is a UV dye.
"It's an invisible dye that you can't wash off," Sanchez said. "Police use a special light to scan the assailant to see it. It stays on them for about a week, and they wouldn't even know it was on them."
For pepper spray to work, you've got to actually have it in your hand. Stopping to dig for it in your purse or bag negates the whole point of a surprise spray attack.
"If you're going to use it, empty the entire canister on the individual, press down until it's empty, and take off," Sanchez said. "When you're in a safe zone, put it away."
What to do:
- scan your surroundings
- appear confident and un-afraid
- if you have pepper spray, keep it in your hand
- walk in a crowd
- make yourself as messy as possible if a sexual assault is launched
- kick, scream, yell if grabbed
- consider self-defense classes
What not to do:
- chat or text on your cell phone while walking alone
- put yourself in situations where assault is more likely
Source: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office
Local Advertising by PaperG