There is no better message to share, than ways to empower yourself and get in the right mindset.
Empowerment is a powerful word and holds a different meaning to each of us, as it applies to each unique aspect of our lives. A few keywords come to mind when I think of ways I’ve felt empowered and confident when it comes to self-defense….and those are MINDSET and PREPARATION. Keep an open mind as you read my perspective..
When I refer to mindset, I literally mean imagine yourself in the most fearful situation where you’re fighting for you or a loved one’s life… That’s what you need to prepare for! What will you do when you’re out for a run (jamming to your favorite tunes with earbuds blasting) and out of nowhere comes an attacker and pushes you to the ground and forces themselves on you, assaults you and threatens you with your life?? At this very moment, your entire life will flash before your eyes, you’ll be thinking to yourself…I’m about to die…. (Do you feel your heart racing, have goose bumps or are your thoughts going wild thinking of this???
Good, I hope so because my message is not to scare you or give you an anxiety attack but to try and prepare you now by getting you in the right MINDSET TO PROTECT YOURSELF!!!) I want you to pause and give the scenario I explained a serious long thought and walk away with a mindset that I’m going to FIGHT and LIVE!!!! There is no way that I or any psychological expert can artificially simulate the stress and anxiety your body will go through when you are encountered in a potential deadly situation.
I can preach this, because I know this! I survived a violent attack as teenager and I went into complete shock!! I wish someone (anyone) would have talked to me about it before. I’d like to think it would have changed my situation and I wouldn’t have been caught so off guard, because I never thought it could happen to me. Don’t live a naive life, it could happen to you or a loved one so prepare yourself with living in right mindset and have a plan to protect yourself! If this tactic frightens you to think about, that’s ok. I want to encourage you to face your fears so you can stand a fighting chance if (and when) the time comes and that criminal picks you!
PREPARE to defend yourself from an attacker, because they know when they’re striking not you! Nobody likes to be caught off guard and not be prepared to handle an emergency… As car and home owners, we’re required to have insurance in case of an emergency, right?! Heck, some people even buy travel insurance. Sooo… where’s the insurance policy on protecting your life (I’m not talking about the one your family gets when you’re buried six feet under either)? You are your own insurance policy! Yes, of course you have the option to call the police for help and maybe they’ll respond in 30 seconds (less than the time it will take for an intruder to break into your home and shoot you and your family).
The reality is it will take minutes for law enforcement to respond if they are not in the area. I personally believe planning for self-protection is a life investment and one’s own responsibility. Of course, law enforcement will be there to help but your initial response could save your life and/or others.
Here’s a few basic things I recommend to aide you in your preparation process:
- Always maintain situational awareness and be alert of your surroundings, especially when you travel. (How many FB posts have you read about where a mother was followed by potential kidnappers/traffickers while shopping with her children. This is the world we live in now, accept it and prepare to defend against it.)
- Enroll in a basic self-defense course, this is a great option for your children and teens too. E3 Firearms Association Members have access to on-line self defense courses.
- Familiarize yourself with your state and local firearm laws. Decide if you’re going to purchase a firearm for home defense or for concealed carry (as your size selection of the firearm will vary depending on your body size and situation). Purchasing and carrying a firearm comes with a huge responsibility and should be treated as such. It’s your responsibility to educate and train yourself and how to properly handle and be effective with your firearm should you ever need to use it. I promise, if you just buy a firearm and never shoot it, you may not have the confidence or ability to use it in a stressful situation (like in the middle of the night when your trembling because somebody just broke in your home).
- Apply for a concealed carry permit (if your state law requires it). Most states require a firearms safety course as part of the concealed carry permit but don’t let this process intimidate you. It’s for your own safety! Be sure to practice and train with your firearm. You can do dry fire drills at home to stay proficient and familiar with your gun, which is inexpensive option. E3 Firearms Association Members have access to on-line training courses like hand to and defensive tactics to take at your their own pace and I encourage enrolling in an in-person firearms training course.
- Don’t eliminate less lethal options for when you can’t legally carry your firearm (pepper spray, baton, taser, stun-gun, audible panic alarms, and a high beam flashlight are a few options). It’s good practice to always have a good flashlight (in your purse, car, and in your night stand).
- Try to eliminate being surprised by an attacker and prepare your home by installing a good security alarm system, cameras, motion and perimeter lighting, or a trained protection dog.
- Always have a good medical kit in your home, on your person, and in your car. Know how to use your medical kit and take a first aide/safety course.
- Communicate with your family and talk about what you would do during a home invasion or an attack in public. (Example, if you have a security alarm and it goes off ensure your kids know to stay in their room until you tell them it’s safe to come out.) It may sound silly, but you practice fire drills, right? (I hope so!)
These are just a few concepts on ways to empower yourself and feel confident that you will have the ability and tools needed to PREVENT or ward off an attacker.
So, I hope many of you aren’t thinking I’m some crazy paranoid G.I. Jane who has booby traps set up around my home and that I sling a rifle every day for protection. Nope, not at all! I’m just an average stay at home momma (with a few side endeavors) who drinks chai, enjoys time with my family and I happen to a pack a pistol every day, and I pray I never have to fight for my life again… If I do, I’ve empowered myself over the years with confidence that I will be able to protect myself because I was prepared with the tools to do so or that I at least gave myself a fighting chance.
Sharing my past with readers is a massive step for me in my healing journey but it’s a step I will take, even if it helps save ONE life! I hope to inspire and empower you in many issues to come.
About Christy Painchaud and our Women on Wednesday Series:
Christy is a retired federal agent and criminal investigator, one our E3 Firearms Association trainers and a mom. You can learn more about her on our team bio page.
Christy created the Women on Wednesday series to create a space for women to share their stories of empowerment. If you’d like to submit a story, email it to Christy and our Editorial Team at contribute (at) E3FirearmsAssociation.com. Be sure to include photos!