Women's Self Defense


Right of Self-defense. The Law redefined.

When it comes to Self Defense it is important to know how the rule of Law interprets the same. Below are a few of the important highlights.

In a recent decision the Supreme Court has redefined the law relating to the right of self-defense. Traditionally seen as a mitigating factor to criminal liability the Apex Court has gone ahead by giving a relook and lay down a ten-point guideline for the citizens of this country to exercise their right of self-defense. Closely examining the earlier decisions on the point, the Apex Court in no uncertain terms went on to declare that "A person who is in imminent and reasonable danger of loosing his life or limb may in exercise of self-defense inflict any harm even extending to death on his assailant either when the assault is attempted or directly threatened".

The Court declared the legal position as under :
  • Self-preservation is the basic human instinct and is duly recognized by the criminal jurisprudence of all civilized countries. All free, democratic and civilized countries recognize the right of private defensewithin certain reasonable limits.
  • The right of private defense is available to one who is suddenly confronted with the necessity of averting an impending danger and not of self-creation.
  • A mere reasonable apprehension is enough to put the right of self-defense into operation. In other words, it is not necessary that there should be an actual commission of the offence in order to give rise to the right of private defense. It is enough if the accused apprehended that such an offence is contemplated and is likely to be committed if the right of private defense is not exercised.
  • The right of private defense commences as soon as a reasonable apprehension arises and it is co-terminus with the duration of such apprehension.
  • It is unrealistic to expect a person under assault to modulate his defense step by step with any arithmetical exactitude.
  • In private defense the force used by the accused ought not to be wholly disproportionate or much greater than necessary for protection of the person or property.
  • It is well settled that even if the accused does not plead self-defense, it is open to consider such a plea if the same arises from the material on record.
  • The accused need not prove the existence of the right of private defense beyond reasonable doubt.
  • The Indian penal code confers the right of private defense only when that unlawful act is an offence.
  • A person who is in imminent and reasonable danger of loosing his/her life or limb may in exercise of self-defense inflict any harm even extending to death on his assailant when the assault is attempted or directly threatened.
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Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Taj President, Cuffe Parade
Highway Aparnment, Sion
UP, Lucknow
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Crime around the clock - Crime Statistics 2010
One Murder every
35.6 minutes
One Forcible Rape every
6.2 minutes
One Robbery every
1.4 minutes
One Aggravated assault every
40.5 seconds

Self Defense is defined as the deliberate use of physical force for protecting yourself or anyone else from imminent harm. Self defense is a subject that nearly everyone considers at some point in their lives. Unfortunate but true that in today’s world it is a part and parcel of living in our society. This is even more true for women than men.

Every single day there are reports of muggings, rapes and gang rapes and assault leading to murder against women. One of the most important truth is the fact that the only person who can help you out of a dangerous situation is YOURSELF. Do not expect a stranger to put his life on the line for you.

Self Defense means accepting the Truth

The first step to learning self defense is accepting the truth that we live in a dangerous and violent world. To think any different is both naive and irresponsible on your part. You have just TWO Choices: forget about self defense, cross your fingers and hope that it never happens to you; OR accept the responsibility of learning to protect yourself and your loved ones from the realities of violence that are all around you every day.

Why People Overlook Self Defense

  • A Fear of the unknown.
  • A negative attitude - "I can’t do it"!
  • Thinking that the Police will protect you and your family.
  • Living a sheltered Life - "It will never happen to me" attitude.
  • Just being lazy - Its too tough and requires too much effort.
  • Don’t have the time, and too busy to look into self defense.

What is Self Defense?

So what exactly is self defense? The answer depends on the type of person you are talking to. For some people it means getting a Gun License, and a high tech security system for home and office. For others (especially our politicians) it means getting round the clock personal Black Cat Commandos as personal Body Guards. There are others who would look to join a Karate or Judo class as viable self defense options. The unfortunate truth is, there is a lot more to self defense and personal protection.

The Three Components of Self Defense

The broad concepts of Self Defense can best be understood in terms of THREE broadly related qualities: Psychological; intellectual and physical. The Psychological aspect of self defense involves your understanding and acknowledgement of the many serious criminal threats to your physical safety and your emotional well being. It may be difficult for you to accept that you may be confronted by a violent criminal predator. But failure to accept this truth is the very psychological barrier that must be overcome if your are going to take yourself and self defense seriously. You must learn to accept the ugly truth that you are a potential victim and that self defense is a necessary requirement to safely exist in today’s society.

Self Defense & Intellectual (Common) sense

Now it has to be understood that effective self defense is also rooted in intelligence (not necessarily academic or the kind measured in IQ tests) but the essential down to earth common sense. If you have heard the term "street smart", then effective self defense requires you to become street smart. Another term mostly used in relation to health but is important is self defense too is "Prevention is far better than the Cure". This means to be aware at all times when on the road or in unfamiliar surroundings. You also need to assess a probable dangerous situation and be able to instantly strategize a possible escape. This will greatly enhance your ability to avoid attacks and beyond that to deal with a particular attack should it occur.

The Different types of self defense

Most women may assume that the term self defense covers all aspects of personal safety, but the truth is that there are numerous sub-categories of self defense all of which have to be learnt.

Below is a brief list:

  • Street Safety
  • Home safety
  • Travel (Train; Bus; Rick-Shaw; Taxi etc.)
  • Workplace Safety.

Self Defense Tips and Guidelines

Below are some self defense rules and guidelines that may help you to avoid becoming a victim of crime. They are not intended to limit your lifestyle, but to help make what you do a lot safer. Remember, no matter how extreme the precautionary measures are, you may still be confronted with a dangerous situation.

Car Safety

  • Be familiar with your travel routes. Be aware of detours and construction sites and avoid travelling on deserted roads.
  • Be alert at red light, stop sign, and Petrol stations.
  • When approaching your car, always look in the back and front seat areas before getting too close to it and then enter it.
  • Learn how to defend yourself if attacked in your car.
  • Never accept a ride from a stranger.
  • Never leave your car unlocked, and keep your driver’s license in your purse not in your car.
  • When approaching intersections or stop lights, always keep your car in gear and be prepared to drive away immediately.
  • At night and as far as possible park under bright illumination.

Street Safety

  • When walking in the streets always be on full alert.
  • On the street, never be on your mobile as this will make you a potential target for a purse / chain snatcher or worse.
  • When walking on the streets, constantly scan your environment, quickly noting potential problems.
  • When entering a dimly lit or dark area, allow a few seconds for your eyes to adjust before moving on.
  • Never turn your back on a potential attacker unless he is so far way he can’t reach you before you get to safety.
  • Do not take short cuts through narrow lanes, parking lots, , tunnels, parks, construction sites or abandoned buildings.
  • Avoid dimly lit staircases and bus stops.
  • Do not display money and or Jewellery in public.
  • If possible avoid walking, jogging or cycling alone, get a friend or family member to accompany you.
  • When shopping avoid carrying too many packages at once; this can make you a very easy target. Try to keep at least one hand free at all times.
  • Carry your hand bag in the crook of your arm or across your shoulder.
  • Wear clothes and shoes that can help you to move easily. Try to wear low heel shoes. If you are wearing high heels and are being chased keep them in your hands and run barefoot.
  • When leaving a bus, watch who is getting off with you and who is waiting at the stop. If you see the same person more than a few times, it could be a potential stalker.
  • Walk, run, or jog in the opposite direction of traffic.
  • If you think you are being followed when walking down a street, immediately cross the street at a 90 degree angle and observe the behavior of everyone else on the street. Remember you can be followed, or trailed from directions other than the one immediately behind you.
  • When turning a corner never take a sharp turn into the corner, you never know who may be waiting around it. Always take the corner wide so you can see who is around it.
  • If you are planning to carry a Pepper Spray, stun gun, baton, learn how to use it effectively otherwise, it could be used against you.
  • 18. Keep your wallet in your purse, or if wearing pants, in your front pocket.
  • Try to avoid streets where teenagers or groups of men congregate.
  • If you must attend the movies alone, avoid sitting in the last few rows and take an aisle seat.

Home Safety

  • It is a well known fact that the majority of rapes takes place in one’s house either by a relative or a trusted friend of the family. At even the slightest familiarity make a scene, or talk to a trusted family member.
  • Have a double door to your entrance, and a good peep hole to see who is on the other side of the door. You can also install a CCTV Camera.
  • Chain Bolts are useless, as a hard push or kick can easily tear the chain off the door. Instead use a door stopper on the inside of your door, and open the door only partially until you know who is at the other end.
  • If you are alone and suspicious of the person or persons on the other side, slam the door shut and call up a neighbor or the security of your building.
  • Keep at least one window open, and scream as loudly as possible or keep a whistle handy, in the event of being attacked in your home.

Conclusion: Self Defense means Taking Responsibility for Yourself

Only when you learn to accept this fact, will you be ready to learn self defense with the seriousness it deserves. This acceptance however is not as easy as it sounds. We are conditioned to expect that someone or something else will protect us from criminal violence and aggression. The police are there and they will help if present. But the fact remains that if they could protect us from criminal aggression, the statistics on violent crime would look very different.

From a practical point of view how could we expect our government to protect us? Is it realistic to demand that our country will supply enough Police in sufficient number to protect every citizen all the time? At what cost? The number of criminals has always exceeded the number of police and in all probability always will. The truth however, is that each and every one of us is responsible for determining the extent to which we require protection for ourselves and our families and to making whatever legally available arrangements we can to acquire that protection on our own.

In the final analysis all women must develop the appropriate self defense capability for any given situation. Essentially, you will need a wide variety of self defense tools that will save your life when all else fails.