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June 29, 2013 at 10:17 PM

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Conquering fear by learning confidence, skills


ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Students at a Strategic Living self-defense class learn how easy it is to break free if someone grabs them by the wrist. Lead instructor Joanne Factor says women mostly fear strangers, but most attacks against women are by people they know.

We read about brutal crimes against women, and they become part of us. We alter our routines. Stay home at night. Obsess about the locks. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Read the Pacific Northwest Magazine article by Seattle Times reporter Susan Kelleher.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Vanitii Fair, a 24-year-old female impersonator, walks through Capitol Hill on a recent evening. Fair says Seattle is safe to traverse when using common sense: stick to well-lit areas, walk with friends and "don't travel inebriated." The LGBTQ social-justice group Social Outreach Seattle will be holding self-defense courses on Capitol Hill over the summer.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

British researchers found that women tend to avoid public places where men are perceived to control the space. Those places include parking garages, transit tunnels, wooded trails and even rivers.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Py Bateman, a national pioneer in women's self-defense training, fought off an attacker with a knife inside her Madison Valley home in 1984. The battle for her life started on the porch of her home, seen behind. She lives there still, without fear.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Men were the victims of about 54 percent of the 10,365 violent crimes reported in Seattle last year. But, women accounted for more than 87 percent the 508 rapes and sexual assaults reported in Seattle in 2012.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Martial artist Melinda Johnson is organizing a group of trained instructors to offer free self-defense classes through the Fight the Fear Campaign set up in memory of Teresa Butz, the South Park woman killed by a home intruder in 2009. The program is funded by Brandi Carlile's Looking Out Foundation.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Women who live in fear of imagined dangers can become blind to the real danger in front of them. Martial arts teaches total awareness, which translates into better control of your body and your mind.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Mystery novels. Television crime series. The 24-hour news cycle. It may seem as though danger lurks around every corner, but, nationally, violent crimes are down 72 percent from their peak in the mid-1990s, according to the Pew Research Center. Self-defense instructor Joanne Factor says violent crime has been declining, but people often don't realize it because of the influence of the mass media.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cynthia Hardiman, who lives in North Seattle, keeps a bat next her bed in case she hears something in the night. "I like to face it head on," she says. "I don't want to imagine what the scary noise is. I want to find out what it is and deal with it."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Cynthia Hardiman, who lives in North Seattle, keeps a bat next her bed in case she hears something in the night. "I like to face it head on," she says. "I don't want to imagine what the scary noise is. I want to find out what it is and deal with it."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Kyle Palmer, a lifelong punk-rock enthusiast and former EMT, has a portrait of The Gits lead singer Mia Zapata tattooed on his leg. Palmer says her music and her 1993 rape and murder deeply touched people in Seattle. Concerned people created the Home Alive anti-violence organization, which provided self-defense training in the city for about 20 years. Jack Matisse of Apocalypse Tattoo is the artist of the tattoo.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Self-defense instructor Joanne Factor says most of her students understand they are more likely to be attacked by someone they know than by a stranger. However, when asked why they signed up for her class, they often revert to their fears of being assaulted by a stranger.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Joanne Factor, instructor and owner of Strategic Living, demonstrates an eye gouge with Kinny Kimlinger during a self-defense class. Although the classes teach physical defense, much of the curriculum instructs women to recognize someone who means them harm and how to effectively to set boundaries.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Fear is a gift, but only if you can recognize its signals. Experts say that people who are constantly flooded with adrenaline at imagined dangers drown out the powerful signals of genuine fear that telegraph real danger.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Psychologist Wendy David co-authored "Safe Without Sight," a self-defense curriculum for people who are visually impaired, as a result of her own experiences being stalked as a teenager. The program became the foundation for "Taking Charge," a therapeutic personal-safety and self-defense program at the VA Puget Sound for female veterans with histories of sexual trauma.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Fear is a gift, but only if you can recognize its signals. Experts say that people who are constantly flooded with adrenaline at imagined dangers drown out the powerful signals of genuine fear that telegraph real danger.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Carolina Kozovits, in front, who recently moved from Brazil, pays attention during a Strategic Living self-defense demonstration. "It's important to understand that there's a lot you can do to defend yourself using only your voice and body language," Kozovits says. "Being confident and assertive is key."

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Marina Salnikova runs through Discovery Park's wooded trails. Salnikova, a North Seattle Community College student, feels comfortable running in the park during the day, but never at night.

This player was created in September 2012 to update the design of the embed player with chromeless buttons. It is used in all embedded video on The Seattle Times as well as outside sites.

ERIKA SCHULTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES

Carolina Kozovits, in front, who recently moved from Brazil, pays attention during a Strategic Living self-defense demonstration. "It's important to understand that there's a lot you can do to defend yourself using only your voice and body language," Kozovits says. "Being confident and assertive is key."

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