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Staying Alive

If you are a woman and you worry about your safety, you are not alone.  A recent Gallup poll reported that six of ten women in America are afraid to walk in their own neighborhoods or go out alone at night.  For these women, the feeling of an ever-present threat of violence effectively denies them the basic guarantees of life and liberty.  And the feeling is more than a perception.  It is based on a strong dose of reality, not just what naysayers would call a neurotic obsession with danger.  Many women in America really are at constant risk.  They are victims of society’s disquieting inability to protect women from violence inside or outside their own homes.

The female fear factor is doubly destructive because it makes women victims not only of their attackers but of their own fear.  Ironically, most women are just too afraid to take responsibility and prepare themselves against a possible life-threatening situation.  They shrink from learning how to protect themselves, even when they are given the chance.  Over the years, I have spoken about self-defense gun training with no end of women who rejected it with a variety of lame excuses.  These excuses often echoed the messages of such influential organizations as the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Harvard School of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the...

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