You’ve been warned before about the boogieman lurking in Ann Arbor’s dark alleys and the danger of walking home alone. Katy Mattingly, former director of Washtenaw Area Model Mugging Self-Defense and author of “Self-defense: Steps to Survival,” tells the truth about assault and how to defend yourself.
– As told to Jessica Vosgerchian
1 Statistically, you’re safer walking home alone than staying at a house. The majority of sexual assaults occurs inside, and between 70 and 90 percent of sexual assault attempts are made by someone the victim knows.
2 People who won’t accept “no” for an answer in smaller issues and make persistent requests that you go out or have another drink are exhibiting warning signs of being potential rapists.
3 It’s important to fight. Eighty-five percent of attackers aren’t carrying a weapon and are looking for an easy victim who won’t make a fuss. One strong jab or scream is often all it takes to send an attacker running.
4 There’s a choice to be made about when to fight back and when to concede. If an attacker is asking for material things, it could be best to give what he or she wants.
5 Rapists generally don’t know martial arts. Even an unskillful counterstrike is likely to be effective. The body’s weak spots are the throat, groin, eyes and throat. Strong parts are the fingertip, elbow, knee and foot. To ward off an attack, take a strong part to one of the attacker’s weak spots.
6 Talking on the phone while you walk alone is more likely to encourage an attacker than ward him or her away. Convicted rapists consistently say the victim they’d choose is the one who looks distracted.
7 It’s a normal human response to freeze up when confronted by a threatening stranger. You need to practice breaking out of shock before you encounter a real-life attack.