The Macho Paradox

With crime on the rise in the city, it’s increasingly important to be prepared at all times. It seems like almost weekly viral videos show some form of attack on the subway or in the street. In addition to these widely publicized attacks, there are also a great number of attacks that happen outside of the public eye. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience a sexual assault in the United States. With 90% of adult sexual assault victims being female there is a definite need for proper protection. Jackson Katz, the author of The Macho Paradox, posed a question to a group of coed students asking what they did to protect themselves from sexual assault on a daily basis. While the women had numerous answers at the ready varying from carrying pepper spray and other weapons to taking self-defense courses such as Krav Maga the men had shockingly few answers. None in fact. The takeaway from this: protecting yourself from sexual assault isn’t something a man thinks about on a daily basis because he doesn’t feel he is an intended target. While the numbers are significantly lower, statistics show that 20% of American males have been victims of sexual assault. It’s important to acknowledge that these threats exist in our society and it’s our duty to prepare ourselves properly in case they arise. Proper training will help prevent an assault and perhaps protect others from being victims of any form of abuse. 

Regardless of gender identity, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Nobody should live in fear of becoming a victim. Many women have taken to carrying weapons or other items for defensive purposes, and although they can provide a sense of security it’s important to consider some things when wielding a weapon.

Commonly carried items for self protection

The pros and cons of each:

  • KEYS – Some women have taken to carrying keys between their fingers as a weapon. While this may provide a false sense of security, it can be extremely detrimental to your safety. Attacking an assailant with keys in your hand will likely lead to you breaking your own knuckles or causing a deep cut on your own hand. Also, if it gets to the point you need to use keys as a weapon it means you already let the attacker get too close. Lastly walking with keys clenched in your fist is an act of fear. It shows you lack confidence in the situation and may make you an even bigger target.

  • Pepper Spray  – The benefit of pepper spray is that it can be used from a distance. It can temporarily blind the assailant, and it can also cause them to have a fit of coughing. While all of these can potentially stop an attacker the truth is all of these things can happen to you if the attacker reverses the spray in some way. Even an inopportune gust of wind can cause your own pepper spray to harm you rather than its intended target. Items like pepper spray are often buried at the bottom of a purse or other type of bag, and locating them in time can be a struggle in itself.

  • Headphones – While it’s understood why women wear headphones to prevent unwanted interactions, it can also be extremely detrimental to their safety. They can make you much less aware of your surroundings, and they block a major sense that can help you avoid danger. Without your hearing, someone could easily sneak up behind you before you realize what’s happened.

  • Whistles – The truth is nobody responds to whistles. Especially in a city like New York, hearing a whistle wouldn’t immediately mean someone is in danger. A whistle can easily blend into the soundtrack of the city. Studies have shown that people don’t respond to whistles even when they see the attack happening. It’s better to build your skills and defend yourself than to depend on others to save you if things go bad.

  • Tazers – Not only are tazers illegal in New York, but you also need to have proper knowledge of how to use one. They can easily be reversed and used against you, and like pepper spray often get buried in your bag without easy access.

  • Flash Lights – What can a flashlight do? Even if you shone one into the eyes of an attacker, what is your follow-up? They offer no actual protection and should never be relied on for self-defense purposes.

  • GPS Trackers – While having your location tracked by a friend can be helpful and provide you with peace of mind, they also can perpetuate the problem. In a sense, you aren’t living free if you need to be constantly monitored to feel safe. In many recent instances in California, GPS trackers have actually been planted on women by predators looking to track them and wait to attack. In the end, it’s better to take action to protect yourself through building a skill set than to rely on someone showing up to save the day. While it can be a very useful tool for self protection it may be also used against the user.

  • Batons – Batons Are only useful if you know how to use them. You need to be in close proximity to the attacker for them to be effective and you likely won’t have a chance to successfully attack with one if you’re blindsided by an attack. 

  • Knives – Knives can be a useful weapon, but as with pepper spray they can easily be used against you. Something to consider with knives, more than any other item on this list, is that you also have to prepare to deal with the consequences of using one. You need to be mentally and physically ready to attack your assailant with the possibility of seriously injuring or even killing them. Although it seems easy in theory, when you’re caught up in the moment, using a knife can be a much more difficult decision.

Learning proper self-defense techniques is the most effective way to prevent an assault. If you want peace you need to be ready for war. So train hard, stay diligent, and remain peaceful. Your safety is our highest priority.



Your Body Is Weapon, Not A Target.