Yesterday morning, a woman walking her dog around Jamaica Pond successfully defended herself by using her voice and shining a flashlight in the would-be assailant's face. In response to her actions, the assailant fled, but not before she got a physical description, which she gave to the police.
This is clearly a story of self-defense, but all the news coverage I've seen of the event highlights the assault perpetrated against her with much less focus on the steps she took to protect herself and prevent serious injury.
From the Jamaica Plain Gazette to CBS local news to New England Cable News, the headlines have universally read, "Woman Attacked" with no mention of what she did in response. The New England Cable News Piece even includes a Jamaica Plain resident declaring that she will think twice before going anywhere alone. It concerns me when fear of violence causes people to limit their lives unnecessarily.
Sources ranging from IMPACT graduate success stories to the National Crime Victimization Survey consistently show that forceful physical and verbal resistance are effective at stopping attempted physical and sexual assaults. Yet stories of effective self-protective action are so often buried in media reports, as they are in the news coverage of this event.
Here at IMPACT we continue working to change the conversation about self-defense until people understand that protecting ourselves from attempted assaults is possible, effective, and common.