Introduction to the Importance of Self-Defense for Women

The fact of the matter is, I won’t be doing much of anything until Monday because I’m just plain worn out! While the filming for National Geographic’s “Doomsday Preppers” was an amazing experience (Nothing negative to say about that) it was grueling and it absorbed much more than just a couple days of my life as there was much to get ready. Suddenly I’m actually grateful for the experience I had with TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” even if I wasn’t a fan of their show and didn’t want to be a part of it. Why? Because doing their show made me get my supplies totally organized and cleaned up AND it helped me to be so much cooler with the camera and even able to anticipate what National Geographic would need for their shoot. (Apparently that’s an unheard of benefit to the field producer, so he was pretty pleased.)

So while I just chill out and relax from the last two weeks of craziness, I’m just going to write a little something today and then get cracking back to 3 times a week articles, starting next week.  But today, you get a partial recap of the past couple of weeks because the fact of the matter is, we really haven’t discussed the dire need of self-defense for women. Today’s article will only serve as an introduction to this extensive topic though.

For starters, you might like to know that one of the facets of my world of preparedness that National Geographic wanted to shoot was…wait for it…me shooting. Hee hee.  No seriously; they wanted to film me training three women how to do the quick-draw self-defense method that Scott and I have developed over the years. The cool thing is yes, they did get me on camera actually making my shot several times, and yes, training the women was awesome.  We had 3 novices there, one of which had never fired a gun before.  After teaching them the fundamentals, we asked them to take their first aimed shot. The gal who shot her first shot hit her target dead on—a small, dispensed shotgun shell that was planted 8 feet out (the traditional self-defense shot distance). The other two nailed their target on the second shot once they adjusted their minds to forget the bad habits they had been taught previously in their shooting experience.  I was SO dang proud of them, truly.

The fact of the matter is, women are an ideal target because they are believed to be the best leverage against a spouse or boyfriend, the weakest prey, and unfortunately, there’s a sick kind of connection between a desperate man and his desire for assaulting women. (Still working on studying that one so that I can better understand how to combat it.) Unfortunately, there aren’t anywhere near enough women who are sufficiently educated and practiced to properly defend themselves.  In my opinion, the firearm is the great equalizer between women and a maniacal drugged up man.  We definitely got that message across! Anyway, moving on. Suffice it to say that the time spent at the range was a good shoot…or should I say filming?

Next, we moved on to a large padded gymnasium in the area (that teaches gymnastics). There were 30 women there, all ready to take on what we had to teach them.  The first thing I did was instruct them as to the importance of the mental preparedness that’s necessary to be able to defend oneself. Then we had them do a couple of exercises that showed them that leverage is their friend, not strength; and that in fact, any woman of any shape or size can defend herself if she understands that premise.  The really cool thing was that I had conspired with a nearby friend of mine who’s actually one of the real superwomen in my life. She had practiced a special display with my husband beforehand in which he suddenly picks her up and throws her to the ground on her back (as would happen during an attack) and she then is able to come out victor because of the leverage strategies that she easily implements. My friend, Leah, has a slight, tone frame, though her cardiovascular system is quite healthy. But my husband, with 4 different martial art disciplines and the black belts to go with them, is a strong and experienced man when it comes to grappling. And he wasn’t holding anything back from Leah. She had to get out of this situation on her own. (By the way, they did use a “stunt throw down” which looks like she’s being thrown down from up high when in actuality it’s only about 12 inches between her and the well-padded mat.) The goal was for me to be talking to the rest of the audience and then suddenly have Scott come up behind Leah and throw her down to the mat and assume the typical rape position—one hand on her throat while the other hand would normally be engaged in getting ready for the assault. Within a matter of second, Leah was able to throw him on his back! If she hadn’t been trained when to stop, she would have broken his arm or dislocated his shoulder at the very least, and crushed his Adam’s apple. The strategy played very well with the audience. They were stunned by the dramatic throw down and they were impressed that this slight of a woman was able to take down a strong man in a matter of seconds.  They were also more open to learning for themselves how to do such a thing.  I have to say, I got goose bumps and almost cried for joy while I was watching them, because it went perfectly. We then proceeded to share with the group how they, too could accomplish this same defense.

So, why was The Preparedness Pro teaching women about self defense, and more specifically about rape prevention? Because, history has continued to show that when there is a mass societal breakdown, sexual assault is as common as hunger.  People lose their grasp on human decency and there are few heroes to help.  Also, if there ever were a situation in which my husband needed to be out and checking on the rest of our neighbors, I want him to be able to go knowing that I had my responsibilities covered in maintaining the safety and sanctity of our home.

Unfortunately, this need isn’t just about what will happen if life as we know it comes to a halt. It’s also a prevalent problem every day. When I founded Women of Caliber several years ago, it was because I was shocked and enraged with the statistic that 1 out of 5 women would be the object of a rape or attempted rape by the time they are 22 years old!  The statistics die down after that age a bit, but then they escalate after a woman turns 70 years old!  This is NOT acceptable to me now, and it certainly won’t be acceptable to me later when there are fewer heroes and more criminals running around who feel justified in their behavior as the result of the warped “desperate times call for desperate measures” mentality.


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Kellene, I have 2 questions: I would like to buy a pistol for myself. What kind would you suggest? I grew up around guns. My father owned a sporting goods store and was a gun smith. We hunted alot together as a family.. Deer, rabbit, turkey squirrel etc. He taught me how to shoot and have respect for a firearm. Unfortunely he died a few years ago and I would like to get my own pistol now. My mom has a 38 special. Would you suggest an automatic, or semi automatic?
Also, During the flood here in PA, My friend's #10 cans of food got totally flooded and covered with water. The tops are now rusty. Can she still use them? Would you suggest recanning the contents with in? PS. Is the National Geographic going to air with the show you did on Doomsday Prepper?
Thanks, Cheryl
Thanks, Cheryl

Selecting a firearm is as complicated as finding the perfect jeans or the perfect purse. You can read this article for some suggestions though on how to help. as well as this one:

I'm sorry, I had to giggle at your auto or semi-auto question. Full automatics are amazing, but they are illegal. I think you may have meant semi-auto or a revolver. In the interest of self-defense, I'm a fan of a semi-auto. They hold more rounds, thus giving me more opportunities to defend myself. (I personally start all of my female students on a Glock 17 with +P+ ammo.

As for the cans of food, yes, they can still be eaten, but my OCD would indeed require that I recan them. Water is the universal solvent. You never know how long the cans will hold up to the rust. Do something with it while you still can.

The show won't air until January of next year.

When I took my concealed carry class, I was unsure what type of pistol to buy. Revolver or semi. The instructor helped me decide when he challenged everyone in the class that used a semi-automatic to shoot ten rounds at the target without having a jam-up or malfunction. If they could, he would give them the class for free. No one could do it, including me. I was using a 22 cal. semi-auto that I used to plunk ground hogs and rabbits out of my garden. I fired three rounds and it jammed just like he said it would. Enough said. If I'm going to carry concealed for my protection, I want to be confident that my pistol won't let me down when I need it. So I bought a Charter Arms .327 magnum and use hollow point self-defense ammo. I also like the simplicity of a revolver to use (no question about whether a round is chambered or not or is the safety on or off) and also the ease of cleaning. If a novice gun buyer would ask me, I would definitely recommend a revolver.

Janet, selecting a firearm is indeed a personal preference as I referenced in the articles I posted links to in a previous comment. Unfortunately, based on the limited description I have from what you shared, I believe your instructor made a significant error. A gun jamming has nothing to do with semi-auto vs. a revolver. It has everything to do with getting the fundamentals down pat. With the fundamentals, all of my students would have been able to get a free class from the instructor. In fact, they would be able to accomplish unloading the entire magazine without a jam or stove pipe before I teach them the quick-draw fundamentals. Unfortunately, I don't get compensated one iota for recommending a specific firearm over another. But my choice comes from not only firearm expertise, but women with firearms expertise. I think that if you are having to shoot your firearm from inside your purse, without revealing it, then a revolver is the best choice.

thank you again for your Knowledge base Kellene. I was in a flood in WA about 3.5 years ago and all of my #10 cans were "washed" too. I did get them washed with a light bleach solution afterwards but now they are rusting. I was thinking I wasted my time cleaning and moving them. Now I will search for a time to repack them. thanks again! CJ

Do you know when the NatGeo show will air?

Fantastic to learn that your husband would be out checking on the neighbors. Another great article. Thank you.

Only one mistake I see in one of your replies. Full auto weapons are NOT illegal. They are available to anyone who meets certain minimum requirements. They are available through Class 3 dealers. You just need to fill out the required paperwork for the government, send in your $200.00 for the tax stamp and wait until it is returned. The most prohibitive part of the deal is the cost of the weapon. Because there is a limited amount of weapons available the cost is extremely high. $16,000 to $20,000 for an M16. I used to own a full auto Uzi. Great fun to shoot but you sure go through the ammo fast!
Hope this helps,


You're correct. I should have said they are viewed as illegal, if I was to be absolutely correct. In fact, if people were to understand the laws of this nation, then they would understand that in actuality, no firearm is illegal, but that's another story. Unfortunately, even those individuals who have the fees, fines, stamps, etc. find themselves behind bars when found possessing a full auto. Full auto does not need to be expensive. A simple piece of flat metal can easily convert any semi-auto to a full auto piece. But then again, doing so brings with it great legal liability and the prosecution of the ignorant. Regardless, since the person asking the question was obviously a novice, I stand by my original response.

The wisdom of your words has been so much on my mind this week as our small town has been rocked by a series of violent home invasion robberies this week - and the culprit is still out there. It's really easy to become complacent about some things, thinking "we're just a small town, we're safe from that kind of violence." Not so complacent now, and at least have a good foundation to go back to...the victims have been held at knifepoint as the thief has led them around the house getting the things he's wanted - thankfully no one has been raped yet, and the children have all slept through the ordeals,but the sanctity of their homes and lives have been violated. Some article mentioned passwords, sort of code words, you and Scott use to communicate. I really have thought about that this week...I have teenage sons who sometimes come in after I'm asleep, and have them texting me before they come in the house so I know it's them. But I also thought it might be good to have "code words" to keep the other children in their rooms or getting out of the house or for those boys to know for sure in the dark it was that the kind of thing that makes sense? I'm lots more prepared than most (sadly), and think I have a mindset that facilitates taking care of business, but I'm not where I want to be, and this whole thing has me more stressed as a single mom than remotely peaceful, which is where I'd rather be... suggestions? I've read and reread Personal Defense for Women and plan to get Armed and Female - neither are available in our small libraries. Thanks for all you do!

Holly, perhaps you can mozy over to the Women of Caliber blog ( and peruse the articles that I've written there. You might not agree with everything I state there (particularly relating to firearm safety around kids) but there will still be plenty for you to latch on to. I also suggest that you get one of John Lott's books. I really like "More Guns, Less Crime." John was a professor for an Ivy League school and set out to "expose" guns as the bain on society. But fortunately, the statistics actually ended up converting him the other way.

First and foremost, when it comes to appropriately defending yourself, it's necessary to get your head in the right place. Reading expertly written materials really helps with that. A firearm is a tough thing to embrace in the life of a single mom--or any mom for that matter. Making decisions based on sound information is so helpful in that regard. It sounds like you've been doing a lot of that. And I applaud that more than you could possibly know.

I found that the peace came when I got educated both mentally and physically. When I was able to learn how to quickly draw and shoot my firearm exactly where I wanted it consistently, then I had peace of mind knowing that I wouldn't harm someone else accidentally, and knowing that I was safe because of my own ability to protect myself and those I love around me. That's where the peace comes and I assure you, it does indeed come.

Hang in there, Holly. The world needs more committed mothers like you!

Thanks Kellene! Actually, I've read all of your articles on Women of Caliber, as well! I always wish there were more (but know that there's only one of you to go around!!) But, I think I'll go re-read! The thing I feel like I need more of is firearms training, and would love to come up to Utah to visit (and am trying to figure out how to do that maybe next spring!), but don't want to learn lots of bad habits along the way. Are there people you can recommend in Colorado? I'm okay with the guns around the kids now - we spent the year in 4H shooting sports to get the general gist - we've all done the hunter safety thing, and they've learned to shoot .22 rifles, at least, as well as some shotgun. My daughter actually loves shotgun! I wanted them to know about guns as tools as I brought them into the house, and not have it be a scary, locked up, "oooh, let's go look and play" kind of thing - they are just like any other tool we own, and we're all good with that. My personal handgun training is where I feel ill-prepared! We all also started in a style of martial arts about 2 1/2 years ago, and we are taught practical self-defense as a separate part of that (not just "using your karate".) Especially for my daughter, but no less my sons, I wanted her to have the mentality you talk of - I don't have to just be a victim, ever. I agree - more moms need to take some reponsbility! Interesting how it takes a crisis, though. Our karate teacher has offered free self defense classes for women in the community for several years (it's a big thing for him) - not too many takers in my office, etc. This week, I have several co-workers saying, "could we still do that? Could we bring our daughters?" Must always start somewhere! Thanks again- our family is definitely more prepared because of your efforts!

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