speculative self-defense

walking in the dark

It’s 11:30.

Why is it so dark?

Where is the moon when you need a natural light source?

Should I call Safe Walk?

The walk from the Rock to Wayland is three minutes long.

I don’t need to call Safe Walk.

See? There’s security personnel everywhere.

I’m going to stay on this side of the road. The pavement is wider. I’d have more time if a car came out of nowhere.

More time for what?

Scream maybe, or run?

But run where?

Back to the Rock?

Back to the Rock if it happens before I reach the halfway point between the Rock and Wayland. Otherwise, Wayland.

What is the halfway point between the Rock and Wayland?

Maybe a minute from where I am now.

Okay, that’s not bad.

If I do get attacked, I won’t have to walk to and from the Rock again.

But what if I’m attacked by someone walking? Then I should stand closer to the road so that the street lights make it easier for people to see me and help.

Getting attacked by a pedestrian would be so much harder to fight.

I’d scream if my mouth wasn’t covered.

I’d bite if my mouth was covered.

If chloroform was used, I guess there’s nothing I’d be able to do.

Didn’t I read a paper about chloroform being a carcinogen?

The chance that I might get cancer after being physically assaulted might not be my attacker’s primary concern.

But maybe the attacker will be worried that they might get cancer from interacting with chloroform.

If someone behind me was about to cover my mouth with a pad of chloroform, maybe I could duck and smash their hand into their own face.

Then they’d pass out.

Then I could just run.

If someone did come up behind me, what would I do?

They taught us how to respond in that self defense seminar I take each year.

What was it?

Groin. Ribs. Face?

Something like that.

So, elbow to groin?

No. That wouldn’t work. They last taught that when I was six.

Elbow to ribs.

Heel to groin.

What about the face?

Fingers in nose? Slap with an open palm? Punch with a closed fist?

Do you punch with your thumb inside or outside the closed fist?

What if someone came up to me from the front?

Then I’d see them.

I’d be better prepared.

But how would I know until they attacked me?

Can I identify an attacker from a mile away?

How would that work though?

They’d have a scarlet A for abuser on their clothes?

That’s nuts.

Okay, but seriously. If someone came up to me from the front, what would I do?

Use one hand to cover my lower abdomen, and use the other to slap?

What was the rule for slapping?

Is it use your palm or use your fingers?

I think it’s use the base of your palm.

That seems like a strong part of the body.

So then what?

There’s no way I’m strong enough to make this person fall over.

I can barely push a revolving door open.

Best case scenario: The person is startled, and I can start running.

I run slowly.

I blame how weird my legs are.

They’re like giraffe legs.

I have control of, like, the third of my legs that are closest to my torso.

The rest is just unknowable to me.

I should really shave my legs.

The way it’s going down there, a lot more about my legs is going to become unknowable to me.

Didn’t someone make leggings that have fake body hair on them to repel sexual assaulters?

Assaulters is not a word.

Sexual assault perpetrators? So clunky.


The leggings with the hair on them are so anti-feminist.

Like supermodels are more prone to being raped than the rest of us?

I should buy pepper spray.

How safe is the safety valve on travel-size pepper spray?

I would definitely attack myself with it if I carried it around all the time.

Do you remember the time I was spraying bleaching fluid onto a shirt and pointed the nozzle at myself instead of the shirt?

If I did that when I was being attacked, I’d make it so much easier for the assailant to attack me.

What was the other thing they had in the rape kit toolbelt thing?

There was a pepper spray, a plastic knife, and a whistle.

That’s so stupid.

It would be so much easier for me to scream than to find a whistle, put it in my mouth and start blowing.

And if my mouth was covered, I wouldn’t be able to do either.

Someone should really come up with a better rape kit.

I really hope it isn’t called a rape kit.

Where’s my ID?

Is it in my backpack?

Why won’t the swipey-thing read my card?


P.S. I want women everywhere who worry about how to defend themselves from being attacked by a stranger to know that this speculation is pointless. If you are assaulted, there’s an 82 percent chance that it’ll be by someone you know.