Someone on our campus is seeking to spread fear and violence against students of color, and we have to stand up to them in any way we can. The survivor of Friday’s attack is safe and defiant, and we stand in solidarity with her as we go forward in trying to promote greater safety for students of color. We urge everyone to be aware of any indication of who could have done this, and come forward with any information you think you have. White students in particular, you must use your privilege to be a force against white supremacy and racism, and be an active ally for students of color. Seek out opportunities to listen, learn, and use your privilege to be a force for good.
With that, I wanted to share some tips on self-defense, with the hope of helping students understand how they can possibly avoid harm. We do no’t want to give this individual what they want by reacting in fear, but looking out for your own safety is always a good idea.
General Tips For Safety:
Self-defense coaches say that body language can be a significant factor in avoiding a potential attack. Know your surroundings when traveling from location to location, and don’t appear distracted by your phone or thoughts. Appear present, confident, and unafraid.
People are much less likely to be targeted as members of a group. It’s a good idea to have a buddy when you’re walking, and if you see someone alone, offer to walk with them or keep an eye out. White students: understand that in this situation your whiteness offers you protection, and that you can be a tool for someone else's safety. This is especially true for white students who are physically strong or imposing. Don’t be pushy about it, under no circumstance should a white student force their company on a student of color, but respectfully offer your support.
Common sense folks: while there is an active threat on campus, it’s not a good idea to sneak up on people. You might get hurt. If you feel like you’re about to accidentally surprise someone, get their attention early-on so that they have the proper time to decide for themselves if you’re a threat. Again, this goes doubly for white students, and especially ones who look imposing. Understand that people are scared, and do your best not to add to that.
If someone or someplace is making you feel unsafe, get help first and ask questions later. Your gut feelings are often responding to the world around you in ways that you aren’t fully conscious of, and they can be an important tool in keeping you safe. Maybe it’s a false alarm, but it’s better to cause a false alarm than to find yourself in an unsafe situation. Call security, call anyone, and get out of there.
What If Someone Attacks You?
·Use The Strongest Parts of Your Body:
Hit with your knees and elbows. If you’re going for the face then your hands will make an impact, but in general, knees and elbows will cause the most damage, especially at close range. Be careful when punching or scratching with fingernails, as you could hurt your hands in the process. Be aware of things around you that can be used as tools, and carry your key in your hand for an extra precaution if you feel unsafe.
·Focus On Vulnerable Areas:
In general, aim for the eyes, nose, throat, and groin. These are the places that will hurt the most and are easy to hit. Hitting their knees will certainly hurt, but they are difficult to target without training.
·Mind Your Arms, Torso, and Neck:
You don’t want to get grabbed. If you find yourself in a hold, escape by shifting your weight and aiming for vulnerable areas. Refer to the links below for more information on how to break free from specific holds.
The student handbook states that students may own knives with blades that are less than 3 inches long. They must be kept out of sight when not in use. Mace and pepper spray are allowed for students over 18 after they are registered with security. Those are the rules, but I’m not going to tell underage students not carry mace if it makes them feel safe. Peace.
The main goal of all of this is to immobilize your attacker so that you can get to safety. As soon as you’re free, run. If you can flee before the fight happens, that’s even better.
Please check out these links for more information about tips for safety, specific things to do in a fight, and self-defense techniques designed for women. Stay alert, stay loving, stay learning, and know that you are stronger than the cowardly, hate-filled person who is targeting people in a twisted attempt to make themselves feel less week. Take care.
A note: This was written very quickly, and by a white student. Please send feedback if any of this seems incorrect, mishandled, or lacking. Thank you.
Anna Loretan. Anna Loretan is the communications director of The Weekly Cad, a somewhat unexpected position since she deeply fears both self-expression and being perceived.