Self Defense for Women

Self Defense For Women

Self Defense For Women

Self Defense for Women. Self defense is important for anyone and everyone to understand and practice. But I think it is even more important for women to have some kind of self defense plan in place. Men have an advantage over us with not only gender, but size and strength as well. Women are typically viewed as a much easier target, and that is exactly what someone with bad intentions wants, an easy target. 

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I personally refuse to be a victim. At one point in my life, I was the victim of domestic violence, and it changed me in many ways. It was at that point that I realized I would never allow anything similar to happen to me again. I always wish that no woman ever has to go through any situation that will victimize them in any way. Which is where I learned ways to protect myself, and exactly what I want to talk about here. I refuse to be a victim, and I hope you do as well. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Safety is a Responsibility!

Safety is not a feeling. It is a state of being, and we all have a personal responsibility to keep ourselves safe. I’ve heard too many people say, “I have the right to feel safe.” No, you have a responsibility to be safe and to keep yourself safe. Safety is not a right. It is a responsibility. 

Self defense for women is essential. Making your safety a responsibility and owning it is a confidence booster too. Here are some tools to help protect yourself and defend yourself if needed. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women


Guns aren’t for everyone, and that is ok. If it isn’t an option for you, please skip ahead to non-lethal options. I will be talking about those as well. 

I recommend that everyone, no matter who you are, take a concealed carry course to simply learn about firearms. If you are on the fence about the idea of purchasing a firearm as a means of self defense, please take the time and attend a concealed carry class.

Afterwards, talk to the instructor. If they are a good one, they will gladly answer questions and chat with you about options or if it is a good idea for you. The instructor should be teaching you, even after the class, not selling you a gun. Please keep that in mind as well.

Find a good local gun shop where the owner enjoys teaching versus selling. The class isn’t designed to convince you to own a firearm. It is to teach you and give knowledge so you can make informed decisions. Knowledge is power! Use it. 

Think about why you want a firearm and what you will be doing with it. Is it for home defense, personal defense when out in public, or something to keep in your vehicle. Is it something to conceal or keep in plain view for easy access? 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Firearm Safety

The one thing I always tell others to think about is the consequences of buying a firearm. It can certainly save your life, or others in many situations. The question is, are you willing to take another life to save your own? Think long and hard about that and come to terms with the fact that may happen if you choose to own firearms. I always hope I am never faced with that choice. But I am responsible for my own safety and coming home every night too. 

If you do make the choice to own a firearm, practice, practice, practice with it! Get comfortable with it and learn to use it with the same ease and confidence that you change a diaper or load a dishwasher. Please do not purchase it and be scared of it and leave it in a dark corner somewhere. That will not save your life. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women


Knives are easily concealed, don’t require a permit, and far cheaper than firearms. I personally think everyone should keep a pocket knife with them at all times because there are a variety of times when they can come in handy, and many scenarios that have nothing to do with self defense. But they can save your life. 

My favorite is the Benchmade Mini Barrage. The reason I prefer this is it fits well in my hand. If you are looking for a larger knife, the Barrage is an excellent full size option. Benchmade is an incredible company that is located in Oregon and the warranty they have on their products is the best out there. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is an excellent non-lethal option for self defense. It is something I have carried for well over ten years now, and always keep a canister in my purse and in my vehicle. Sabre Red is the one and only brand I have ever carried. The reason for this is that it is recommended by every single law enforcement officer I have known in my life, and that isn’t a small number. 

I would also like to take a moment to talk about intended use here. I’ve seen people on social media recommend wasp spray and other similar things that are not intended to be used for self defense. Please don’t use things like wasp spray as a method of self defense. There is a label on many products about using them in ways other than their intended use, and it is a crime which can carry consequences.

Pepper spray certainly incapacitates someone, but it doesn’t actually hurt them. Where wasp spray or any other thing you may see recommended absolutely can cause other side effects and damage to another person, and you may find yourself with a lawsuit. Which is why I say to use the right tools for the job.

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Stun Gun/Taser

These are loud and obnoxious when turned on and ready to use. That can deter a crime right there, and I like that! The one from Sabre fits easily in my hand and can fit into my pockets as well. They are not expensive either. This is a wonderful option for times when you have to be out in the dark, like to walk to a car or take the dog outside at 4am. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Baseball Bat

I like this mini baseball bat for the purpose of home defense, and I have bought it for several other women in my circle as a great option for self defense when they are at home. They are lightweight and seriously hurt. This is a good option for tiny women who have health issues and may not have the dexterity to hold and aim a firearm. 

Some people also keep these in their vehicle. I do not because my vehicle eats everything that isn’t in a confined space or nailed down. Since I do not have a specific place to keep it, it isn’t a viable option for me. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Self Defense Classes 

Self defense classes are a wonderful tool because it gives you real life scenarios and how to respond to them. Weapons are great, but they may not always be a viable option. Sometimes the only thing to do is to fight your way out of a situation and get away.

For as much as I prepare for everything, my options may be limited for a variety of reasons. I’ve said it once, but it is worth repeating. Knowledge is power. The more tools you have in your tool belt, the better off you will be. 

Self defense classes are also very similar to going to a gun range, it gives you the opportunity to practice, practice, and practice some more. Because you may think you know exactly how you’ll respond to a specific scenario, but if you haven’t been in it before, you honestly have no idea. It may not go the way you expect, and practice is a way to learn that and change it.

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Common Sense 

I feel like common sense is so often overlooked as a tool to keeping us safe. This is especially true when it comes to self defense for women. Our instincts tell us when something may not be quite right. It’s like meeting someone and instantly disliking them without a single valid reason. It is simply a feeling. Something in our bodies are yelling red flags. Same thing happens in situations and places as well. Listen to that feeling and don’t ignore it. 

Please don’t ever think “it won’t happen to me” because that is exactly when it will. Don’t put yourself in unsafe situations simply because you don’t think anything will ever happen. Practice common sense and defensive techniques to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.  

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Self Defense for Women Notes

Always be mindful of your surroundings. Situational Awareness will take you a very long way in staying safe. Know your circle of friends and family. I have several friends that I know I don’t have to worry about safety when I am with them. Either because they are protective of me, they carry weapons, or they just don’t leave me in vulnerable situations. I have one friend who will walk to where I park and walk me back to where we are going every time. I always know I am safe when I am out with him and his family. 

Some friends don’t even realize we’ve left another friend in the car to go into a store and they aren’t with us. I don’t like this, but I can’t stop that mindset. What I can do is be aware of that and adapt how I approach meeting with this person in a potentially unsafe area or at night. Awareness is a very big deal. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Keep Others Safe Too

Keep the safety of others in mind as well. I am the person who takes head counts when I am out in a group. Or I will offer to walk someone to their vehicle if they are alone or splitting off from the group. I followed friends out of an area last week that I had no clue where I was until I reached a main street.

At a stop light, they checked in with me to make sure I was set to get home from there or if I needed more direction. There was no splitting up until they were sure I was safe and on my way home. I also strive to be that kind of person as well. 

Safety is always a big concern, and I don’t limit it to my own. I want everyone to not only feel safe, but to keep themselves safe. 

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

What is the Best Choice for You? 

As you are thinking about all of the options I have listed above, consider what works best for you and your situation. Is there anything that would prevent you from owning weapons? Mental health issues, physical limitations or a disability.

Guns may not be a good idea in those cases, and that is ok. Start thinking about what is a viable alternative for you and your specific situation. I talked about the baseball bat not being a good option for me to keep in my vehicle.

What is a good option instead? Pepper spray is a good one, because it is compact in size and I can easily access it without it getting lost and eaten by my vehicle. Only you can decide what works best for you though. Self defense for women is a choice we all need to make.

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

Self Defense for Women Discussion

Tell me your thoughts on self defense for women in the comments. Is it a prep that you find important? What are your favorite methods of self defense? To read more tips on prepping, click here.

Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women

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Self Defense for Women
Self Defense for Women
Self Defense For Women


  • Scott DeNicola

    I would love to get my daughters involved in some sort of self-defense class just to be safe. I personally have a pistol permit but have yet to buy a gun. Oddly my wife was against me getting a license but did say when I bought a weapon that she would like to learn how to use it. In NY state (on Long Island where I live) it is really hard to get a concealed carry permit, almost impossible unless you are in an imminent threat at all times. Mine is a sportsman license which means I can take it to the range. Honestly, you don’t even need a pistol for self-defense, just buy a shotgun. The click of a shotgun is enough to deter anyone. Mace and or a taser is another great alternative but in many situations just being good at martial arts can help immensely. Great article that gives me food for thought.

    • The Prepping Wife

      The sound of a round being chambered into a 12 gauge shotgun is a universal sound! No matter what language we speak, we all know that sound. It really is an excellent deterrent for home defense. I personally like things that can be a deterrent before I have to actually use it. That is definitely my preference.

  • Subhashish Roy

    With increase in crime and with more and more people around with bad intentions, the responsibility of protection for women lie in their own hands literally. Pepper spray and a pocket knife are perhaps the most accessible.

  • Despite Pain

    I think it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and who’s around you, especially if you’re alone at night. It’s good to be prepared and to try to know how you’d react. It’s also important, like you said, to look out for each other. In the UK, people can’t carry weapons (including knives), so perhaps self defence classes would be a good idea.

  • Lindsay Brown

    Yes yes yes! This article is so important for women! It is most definitely our responsibility to know how to protect ourselves because, simply put, there are people out there who cannot be trusted. I am not a gun person so I just don’t think I’d feel comfortable having firearms in the house (even with training) but I do believe that Self Defence classes are essential for all women, they should really make it a class option in high schools! I also agree that common sense is so important when thinking of personal protection. So many people are not aware of their surrounds, or don’t listen to those inner cues and that is often when attacks happen.

    What a fantastic article Erica, thanks for sharing!

    • The Prepping Wife

      I totally agree with this being tought in high school! That is such a great idea because it can seriously boost confidence and teach younger girls to really pay attention. In this day and age when everybody is attached to a cell phone, it is even more important.

  • Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women

    This is a really great outline of all the options when it comes to self defense for women. Whenever possible it is obviously much preferred to avoid any potential situation that would require the use of self defense or weapons by using the two elements you highlighted toward the end: Situational Awareness and Common Sense. You always hope to never be forced to use self defense but you never know. Best to be prepared and not use it rather than not be prepared and wished you had.

    • Kayleigh

      Well put together! Being in Canada, we have no concealed carry but my husband has gotten a gun license and owns handguns. I will admit I am uncomfortable around guns myself, but will go to the range occasionally with my husband. I do like carrying a pocket knife with me though, and pepper spray. As a mom I am not out in the dark downtown as much as in my early 20s – I learned to be very cognisant of my surroundings then. Going to parking lots (even in day) I always get my keys ready in my hand while I am inside, then walk confidently to my car. I check the car before I get in it too.

      If I was to add another tool to your list it would be a high powered laser – strong enough to blind someone from a far distance. We have one (mostly use it to start fires) but we keep it accessible for home defense too. You can order them online.

  • Aryanne Padilha

    I LOVE this topic, Erica. I personally carry all kinds of crazy s*** with me at all times haha Definitely pocket knife and pepper spray. I also have done 2 years of boxing and 6 months of Kung Fu, which makes me pretty much a ninja for life 😛 All jokes aside… It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings, I love that you included “common sense” there.

    • The Prepping Wife

      I carry all kinds of stuff with me too, Aryanne! It’s not a bad thing. I love that you’ve taken boxing and kung fu classes! You have a huge advantage and that is amazing.

  • Kelly Martin

    I’d like to do a self defence class. Hopefully I’d never need it but it’s handy to have those skills. I’m always on high alert when walking alone, especially at night time. Here in Australia we can’t carry guns, knives or pepper spray so we’re a bit limited in self defence options.

    • The Prepping Wife

      I always hope that I will never need any of the tools I keep for self defense, honestly. But I would much rather have them and never need them instead of not having them and desperately needing them. I hope you do take the self defense class, Kelly! It can be a big confidence booster, and that can help you not appear to be an easy target too.

  • Live Learn Better

    These are all valid choices and ideas. I was thinking my daughter should learn martial arts, but the tomboy in her is what is scaring me.
    I hope she will not just start a fight because she knows she can actually handle someone.

  • Lene

    This is a terrific post. There are so many options that can help you be safer. Like you said, situational and interpersonal awareness are huge. Always trust your gut. Which can be really hard for women, especially. We’re brought up to be nice, helpful, and accommodating. Which often means ignoring my your gut is yelling at you.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Women always want to see the best in everyone. It is just something that is part of us. I always want to think that too, honestly. But reality and what I want to think are two different things at times. Thank you so much for sharing this post this week! I appreciate it and I am glad you enjoyed reading it, Lene.

  • LuLu B - Calabrisella Mia

    I think it’s so important to be aware of your surroundings and try not to be distracted by things like your phone. I like to listen to music when I’m walking around but I never have two ear buds in my ears, I always want to make sure I can hear what’s happening
    around me. I also make sure to take routes that have an “escape” so that could mean lots of traffic, people or open restaurants or shops.

    • The Prepping Wife

      People walking around with ear buds in both ears is such a pet peeve of mine! I am so glad you are much more aware and only use one. That is really the best option.

  • Smita

    Great post, Erica. Serves as a reminder to me. I used to carry pepper spray earlier but have gotten complacent since I moved to Switzerland, just feels so safe here. But you can never know – need to up my situational awareness and get some pepper spray!

  • Melanie williams

    It shows what kind of world we live in when we have to thing about self-defence. Very important to be aware though

  • Lyosha

    Great post and reminder. It makes me feel safer to when I know i can defend myself.
    I’ve been doing martial arts when I was little up until late teenage years and even considered pro career but stopped due to trauma. I still know I am better than average person when it goes to it. also pepper spray works and is cheap

  • Sarah Mark

    I would love to take a self-defence class at some point I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. It’s so sad that we need to worry about our safety when out or home alone but you have given some wonderful tips in this post.

    • The Prepping Wife

      I hate that we have to worry about it as well, but it is just the reality of the world we live in. I wish it was getting better, but it is going in the opposite direction.

  • Daphne Takahashi

    Preparing and understanding how we can defend ourselves is really important. It’s just as you said: we as women have a disadvantage, so we really need to learn how to stand up for ourselves and not let anyone makes us feel fear or uncomfortable. I took self-defense classes and it was great! i recommend it!

  • Greta James

    Thank you so much for pointing out that weapons are not always an option when you get into a dangerous situation, so you should be prepared for a fight. I am moving away from my home town, and I really want to feel safe in my ability to protect myself. I think that a self-defense class could really be beneficial for me. My friends and I will have to look into self-defense classes we can take together.

  • Ben

    I think any of these are excellent picks. A knife is an especially effective method of self-defense when kept within easy reach. You can slash or stab with it, and it’s easily taken out of a pocket.

  • Stephanie S

    Such a very important topic. I would love to sign my daughters up for a self defense class. I’d actually like to take one too. I think there are some valuable skills to learn when it comes to protecting yourself, and your family. My husband has mentioned that we need to do that, and I think we will be doing that soon once everything is back to normal around here. Great post!

  • Nkem

    Violence is a reality in this world especially violence against women. I am beginning to see and feel the need for self defense classes and even how to use a gun… How to defend yourself if needed… How to remain clear and level headed in a crisis. Thanks for this post.

  • Britt K

    I am a firm believer that every woman should know how to defend themselves in some way, shape or form. I took martial arts starting at a young age, earned my black belt at 15 and started teaching. Since that time, it has always been one of my passions to encourage women interested in learning how to defend themselves.
    Personally, I am not one to carry a weapon. That could partially be due to the fact that I’ve grown up in Canada where the idea of a gun for self defense/home defense isn’t nearly as common. That’s not to say that I have no experience with them, I was in the Canadian Armed Forces. It’s just not something that is commonly seen as a home defense option in our culture here.

  • Kat

    This is very important! All women should learn some self defense – when I first moved to London, my mom insisted I take some classes. Luckily, I have never been in a really bad situation before, but I am glad I have some experience and would probably know what to do in an emergency.

  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan

    Situational awareness is so important. I see so many people with their faces in their phones as they walk along city sidewalks in the evenings. Pay attention to your surroundings and note anything odd or different. And, if you own, a gun, please make sure that you are keeping it away from children or have a trigger lock for it. If you are worried about quickness, choose a fingerprint trigger lock.

  • Luanne Price

    35+ yrs in mixed martial arts. Experienced in hand to hand combat.
    If in your home & someone comes in on you..Do Not run into kitchen ( too many weapons they can use against you) Do not run to bedroom( what is there to defend yourself with?) If you cannot get to a door or window to get out …run to bathroom & lock door. Keep a can of cheap Auqua Net Hair Spray & some lighters in there. Flick lighter & hold can of HS close . If they come through door. Hair spray through a lit lighter becomes a flame thrower. It will back them up enough so you can get out. & mark them for identification. They are trying to hurt you, do you care if they get burned? Put Hair spray( Aqua Net) & a lighter right on the counter in any room you want nobody will expect that innocent looking flamethrower .
    In public if someone grabs you. & you can’t get away. Go completely limp…dead weight. When they try to pic up up ..Explode when they bend over. A foot sideways to the knee as Hard as you can. If you can’t get to your feet Grab them by hair & Pull their face to you , Aim for the nose & BITE Hard. Thumbs to the eyes & Dig them in. If they get your teeth off of their face..Start screaming Fire! You will not react like I would so the point is If you cannot get away You Fight…with everything in you. Make noise, Get their DNA ! Rip out hair…Claw their Skin, Get their skin under you fingernails . The whole time Screaming as loud as you can. Once you begin the attack, Do not let up, Keep attacking If they are trying to hurt you you have nothing to lose.
    Do not park next to any Van. If you see a van with No windows & padlocks on the outside of the door alert police…Do not get near it. Yes you might look silly if it turns out to be harmless …would you rather look dead or never be seen again?.
    These things sounds crazy but I promise if you do not hesitate they can save your life. Never announce you have a weapon. Get Mad from deep inside Mad. If you can get away Run! & Run Screaming! Take a self defence class with a qualified instructor. It will be the best money you ever spend. If you see it happening or about to happen say Very loud ” Hay ! What are you doing with my husband!!, I knew your lyin ass was Cheating!””Don’t you get in the car with my man!” THAT will make evevrybody look at what is happening & give the victim an escape. Be safe, Be Aware & Never for one second think it can’t happen to you. Look out. For your seniors,disabled,anybody in a situation you would not want yourself to be in & get Loud.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Great advice, Luanne! I hadn’t thought about Aqua Net in years, but those cans definitely make fantastic flame throwers. I love your tips on getting attention too. They are great, because so often a person with bad intentions will look for a perfect opportunity. Don’t allow them to have that!

  • Mia Evans

    It got me when you said that it is our responsibility to ourselves to keep ourselves safe. It seems like it must be done proactively to prevent getting harmed in any way possible. In that case, attending a self-defense class is probably a good idea for a woman like me who is living on her own in the city.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Being proactive is one of the best ways to be prepared, Mia! I would agree that a self-defense class is an excellent option for you. I am so glad that this helped you make that choice for yourself and take the responsibility to keep yourself safe.

  • Nichole

    Everyone should read this post, you nailed it! My husband is a marine so he’s taught me how to take care of myself too. We’re teaching our daughter the same, this is a cruel world we live in so readiness is the only option.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Thank you so much, Nicole! I appreciate that you’re teaching your daughter just like you’ve been taught by your husband! That is awesome. She shouldn’t be afraid, she should be confident that she can handle herself, and I love that you’re helping her with that.

  • Millie Hue

    I like that you pointed out it is a responsibility to keep ourselves safe as a woman and even both our confidence at the same time. And I seek that being confident will probably lessen the chances of being a target by a criminal. So I have been convinced to finally take up self-defense courses for myself or even for my daughter for our own protection whenever my husband is away.

    • The Prepping Wife

      Taking a self-defense class with your daughter will not only be a bonding experience, but also a huge confidence booster, Millie! When you are confident, you carry yourself differently, and it is clear to others. Which makes you less of a target. Plus you’re teaching your daughter to rely on her own common sense and skills, not being forced to have a male around just to feel safe. I am so very glad that my post helped you, and I am happy for you!

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