In the United States, as of 2014, statistics tell us that we are around 50% less likely to become a victim of violent crime than we were in the early 1990s. It really doesn't feel like it, though--does it? I will give you my thoughts on this:
In the 1990s, violence was rampant (comparatively speaking), but we were only made aware of these violent occurrences if we read the newspaper or watched the evening news. Today, technology has the latest violent crime on your phone or PC within minutes, and in High Definition detail. The constant bombardment of gruesome events, although far less frequent by comparison, is much more prevalent. This leads to a higher anxiety associated with these events, and a more fearful existence overall.
Further exacerbating the problem is a very backwards trend in the self-defense community. The idea is this; The teacher or salesman screams from the rooftops raw statistics regarding your probability of encountering whatever he is selling the solution for. Photographs of the latest victim may be posted alongside the data. This causes an otherwise comfortable person to become slightly less comfortable (ie: fearful), and therefore more susceptible to a sales pitch. In an extreme case, I read an instructor's description of showing a confident, assertive woman a video of a woman being violently killed, watching the formerly confident woman shrink in fear, and then selling her a solution. This is outrageous.
The fear already exists, doesn't it? All of us (yes, me too) have a fear spot. Maybe more than one! This fear spot is associated with a "What if..." "What if this event or that event happens?!?" Very often, we push that "What if..." into the back of our mind and pretend it doesn't exist, but it is still there, stealing our serenity like a thief in the night.
An empowerment training model would present you with a method for processing your existing fear in a way that makes sense to you as an individual. First, you would be asked to identify what it is that you are fearful of. Once you actually nail down a scenario, then you look rationally at what you could, or would do in such a scenario. There are options for physical skills training (self-defense or martial arts), weapons (pepper spray, stun gun, or lethal weapons), communication countermeasures (panic buttons, personal alarms), and others.
Next, you would take the steps that create a solution for that scenario! This process could be as simple as a pepper spray class, or some role play with a stun gun...or as committed as martial arts lessons or firearm training. The point is--being able to think through a fearful scenario goes a long way toward developing a healthy, free attitude toward our sometimes chaotic world.
I treat self-defense and self-protection as a part of my daily routine, but I don't carry a firearm, nor do I live in fear of assault. I am relatively alert, I have pepper spray with me at all times (and am well trained in its use), and behave in a way that is unlikely to attract aggression. This works for me, and I use it consistently, regardless of my environment.
I encourage all of my students to start looking for the actual fear that does exist, and seek training or input if they are unable to clearly see sensible countermeasures.
All we really want in this world is happiness and success, right? How much time do you spend worrying? Using a healthy empowerment training method, you can largely take your fear of assault out of the picture, or reduce it to a healthy level.
Its all about living fearlessly!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!