The Self Defense IQ Test

Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

(WFLX) - It happens to almost half a million terrified people every year -- a mugging or robbery -- that steals your sense of security.

But there are ways to send off a stay-away signal, and it starts with your voice.

When it mattered most, Dawn Tomassone's training kicked in using her eyes as weapons. "I looked at him. I knew everything from his shoes, to his mustache, to his hair," she recalled.

"I took the glass of water and the alarm clock and threw it at him. [I was] crazy screaming, screaming really bad obscenities," she continued. "I think I scared him at that point more than he scared me, and I chased him out of the room."

The women in a self-defense class we attended are arming themselves for the worst-case scenario. "A couple of weekends ago, I was walking through Astoria Park, and I was actually mugged," said Jennifer Carlson. "I've lived there for six years, and it really shook me up."

"It's amazing. We can yell at the people we love about the garbage, about the remote control. But we freeze up around a stranger, who's potentially trying to harm us, so learn how to use your voice. Learn how to use it loudly. Tone, attitude all this makes a difference," said Gabrielle Rubin, Founder Female Awareness.

Put your self-defense IQ to the test:

  1. True or false: When walking alone, pretend to talk on your phone to ward off bad guys?
    "I can't hear someone coming up behind me. I can't see them because I lose the use of my peripheral vision, and I lose the use of my hand," Rubin explained.
  2. True or False: Hand over your purse if someone demands it?
    "It's the worst thing you can do, because you never want to be that close because someone can also grab you. If someone yells, 'Give me your bag,' it's much better to throw it past them, not really heave it, just throw it past them, so they turn their back and go after that."
  3. True or False: Use your remote car lock to scare away predators in a parking lot?
    "Also a don't. It's another way of saying, 'That's my car. Follow me.' The number of robberies went up 10 percent over the past five years in the U.S. Forty-three percent happened on the street. Sixteen percent happened at homes, and in 40 percent of robberies, the perpetrator's only weapon was his hands." Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Also, Gabrielle says, only get physical if someone's hands are already on you. Typically, your palm is stronger than your fist. "The palm heel is very effective, even if someone's very tall."

Your elbow is one of your best weapons. "This is almost like your mini baseball bat."

And use your legs. "My legs are longer and stronger than somebody's arm. We want to keep them at the furthest distance that we can, straight out."

Gabrielle also says after shopping, try to consolidate your bags into one big bag to keep your hands free. And if you carry pepper spray, make sure you practice using it before you're in a situation where you have to use it.

To find out more about self-defense for women, you can e-mail or visit her Web site at