About Me

I hold multiple NRA Instructor credentials, as well as SabreRed Pepper Spray. I have my own training company in Northern Virginia, www.FemaleandArmed.com and am focusing primarily on teaching women, especially those who are new to shooting.

I am also the author of 4 books, available on Amazon, and at many major outlets. I am a contributing writer for Combat Handgun Magazine and Women and Guns Magazine.

Thank you for following along with me as this journey continues.

Safe Shooting!


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Thoughts, comments and insights for women who shoot and the men who love us!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Overcoming Socialization…Acting like a Lady

As little girls many of us were given dolls to mother, told not to play with brother’s toy guns…Young ladies don’t yell, they don’t hit, they are quiet, demure, … I even wore white gloves and a hat to Sunday school. Ok, I may be giving away my age here, but truly, girls are generally raised differently than boys. We don’t learn to fight, we learn to keep our discomfort hidden when someone invades our personal space or gets too friendly and gives us an odd feeling. This conditioning makes us ideal victims. We can be convinced that it isn’t so bad, it is our fault for leading him on, we owe him, we are making too much of nothing, we need to keep out voices low. I lived the first 30+ years of my life like that. Shy, reserved, passive…then I woke up. It took a traumatic event for me, but hopefully not for you. I still behave like a lady, when it is appropriate. I like dresses, high heels, nice handbags…and color coordinating my gun to my outfit. LOL, have you seen Charter Arms line of colored revolvers? Turquoise, lavender, PINK! Ok, I’m exaggerating a little, all of my guns are in basic stainless steel, blued, of a combination thereof. But like the old saying, buy the shoes, the outfit will come. I have a pair of pink heels that would go perfect with the pink .38. Ok, I’m a “girly girl” as my husband likes to say. But I regularly carry, on body, a Glock 19, and pepper spray, and a small stun gun/flashlight. I’m also taking Personal Defense lessons. I have some minor physical limitations so I’m taking private coaching instead of a class, and am amazed at how powerful I can be with a little coaching. It was funny, the first time I was the hit my instructor, even knowing he was wearing protective padding, I barely tapped him, he couldn’t even feel it. Hitting didn’t come naturally to me. By the end of the lesson, I was hitting him pretty hard. It hurt a little, but I needed to know I could do it, and what it would feel like. I also had to learn to take a hit, even a soft one, to overcome the initial shock of someone’s fist making contact with my cheek. Bad guys probably aren’t going to throw a slow motion controlled punch, but at least now I’ve practiced how to deflect it and how to tell what body language leads up to it to I can anticipate and respond. Why would I do all this? Several reasons…it is a dangerous world out there, economy is tough, people are desperate, and the bad guys seemed to have had a mental shift. Years ago, you might get mugged, hand over your money, they might say thanks and leave. Now, odds are you cooperate and still get killed! Pardon the pun, but I have been asked if all these things are “overkill”. I don’t think so. I’ve written here before about proportional response. I live in a townhouse community. We are close together. A 9mm bullet can travel a mile or more, of course it will lose velocity, but it can still do a lot of damage to an innocent person or property if you miss. I carry Hornady Critical Defense ammunition, it has a good reputation for expanding on contact and minimizes the risks to innocents, but anytime you fire a gun in an uncontrolled environment, you are running a risk. It is our responsibility to minimize the risk by knowing what is in the vicinity of, and what is behind your intended target. If you can’t shoot with relative safety to innocents, you need other options. Hence, my stun gun, my pepper spray, and the personal defense classes. The one thing all of them have in common is that they may distract my attacker long enough for me to get to safety. Isn’t that the ultimate goal? What does this have to do with socialization? Ever get that uneasy feeling when someone crowds you in a checkout (no, don’t pepper spray them like the lady at Wal-Mart) but it is ok to turn an politely tell them that you would appreciate if they take a step back. This is very reasonable, they don’t need to see your pin number, or your transaction total, or anything else that is YOUR business. So, how often do we say something versus shifting uncomfortably and hoping they will get the message? What about the stranger approaching you in a dark parking garage or lot that just doesn’t feel right. Do you ignore that feeling or look at him directly and tell him politely but firmly to stay back? Some people are innocently clueless of personal space. More often they are testing you to see if you will tolerate the invasion. For some, that is a thrill, for others it is a prelude to something much worse. Don’t give them the “in”. You can be polite in an initial encounter, but also be firm. Leave no doubts that you mean what you say. These are forms of aggression, or small attacks, and can escalate. I recently had to ask someone to leave a meeting for being a disruption. I had already warned him several times, each time a little more forcefully. Finally, I stood and told him needed to leave since he was not able to control himself. He refused, I picked up my phone and dialed 911…he left, muttering profanities, but he left and did not return. I needed to escalate my warnings, and then back it up. I made eye contact, was polite but firm, and left no doubt that I meant it. Sometimes you may wander into a situation without realizing it. If you are on someone else’s territory, you may need to retreat. In those situations, an excuse me, I’m sorry for interrupting and backing away can be enough. In other cases, you can use your gender to your advantage, as in, I’m so sorry, I’m lost, can you direct me to the nearest gas station, or interstate, or whatever? Trust your gut on this. It can work in the right circumstance, such as accidently wandering into a biker bar (nothing against bikers, some of them are awesome, kind, gentle people, but some groups can be aggressive to outsiders). Bottom line, get away from an uncomfortable situation fast. You have the right to your space, your comfort and your body. No one has the right to take that away from you. You can be feminine if that is what you want. You can be tough as nails, you can be somewhere in between. But you do not have to accept intimidation or aggressive behavior. Use your voice, stand up straight, make eye contact…No one can take your power from you without you giving it to them. You may have to dig deeply to find your inner strength, but it is there. Do whatever it takes to survive an encounter, be it eye contact, physically fighting back, or if you are mentally prepared and believe yourself to be in mortal danger, shooting your attacker. Remember, when someone attacks you, they have made the decision to do so. Your decision is to accept it or fight back! Be safe!

1 comment:

  1. I too, had to learn these skills in adulthood. When my children were teenagers, they often rode their bicycles to the neighborhood stores, library, pool, etc. At the intersections, they often had "adult drivers" trying to "inch" past them & them push them off of the road. My advice was to turn around, look directly at the driver & hold their gaze. They were empowered! This has become their strongest weapon in establishing their rights, space. Even as teenagers they used it against adults attempting to bully them! So, lets teach our children, polite, but do not accept bullying.

    I love reading your blog! It is so informative & your writing skills take a dry subject & turn it into interesting reading! Thanks!

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