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Refuse to Be a Victim: I Object to Your Objection

Updated: Nov 27, 2021

If I was told that everything I teach had to go away but I could keep offering ONE thing, without question I would keep the Refuse to Be a Victim (RTBAV) + OC Pepper Spray Class. The irony is, it is the hardest class to fill. So hard, in fact, that many amazing instructors have stopped offering RTBAV. They just can't fill it and we all need to pay our bills, so they eliminate it from the roster. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm not about to give up on something I believe in, instead I'm going to fight for it and hopefully turn some more people into believers.

RTBAV is arguably the most valuable class that a person could take. So, why don't people sign up for it? Simple- it isn't flashy. There's no guns, no is 100% about understanding bad guys and out-gaming them through small but immensely effect adjustments to how you show up in the world. No one wants to learn that- there's nothing sexy about knowing how fast someone can break into your garage and how you can fix it with a zip tie. There's no "John Wick cool factor" in knowing how and where to park your car when you're out running errands. Spoiler Alert: winning a gun fight isn't nearly as cool as never being in a gun fight. Want extra cool points? Reduce your exposure and don‘t get chosen by the bad guys. That's super badass. So, when I start talking about the RTBAV class, if you start thinking "I'm good on all that stuff, I want to learn to shoot," take a deep breath and consider that there might be a lot more to learn that will be immensely and immediately applicable for your personal safety.

"I can teach you how to shoot, but before I do that, I want to teach you how not to." -Clint Smith

I can fill shooting classes and lessons all day long - and I do. The problem here is twofold:

  1. It is highly unlikely that you will ever need to use your shiny gun skills in a life threatening situation. Don't get me wrong - I'm a gun girl all day long; but, I recognize that the gun is the LAST option in a very specific kind of situation that I train for but that I most likely will never encounter.

  2. Unless you are devoted to constant practice, situational training, holster practice, and a million other skills and CONSTANT development of your skills and mindset...PLUS consistent application of those skills, that gun may not solve the problem in front of you - or it may but then you have a new set of life-altering problems to solve that can be socially, financially, medically and emotionally devastating. Gun skills are perishable - both psychologically and physically - I can't tell you how many students I see that shot a gun a couple years ago but come to me now because they don't remember much. So, it could be a good solution in the right set of circumstances paired with solid training habits.

It would be irresponsible of me to teach anyone how to shoot without also giving them the skills to not have to. That's where Refuse To Be A Victim comes in. Sure you know to look at your surroundings when you walk and lock the door to your house; but do you know how bad guys choose their victims? Do you know how to NOT be the one they choose? Do you know how to set up good personal safety habits that are more than just keeping your head on a swivel? Even if your answer is "yes," why would you turn down the chance to learn more or keep your skills sharp?

Now, I'm not naive, not at all. It's a good idea to have tools at your disposal to protect yourself if the bad guys come calling even after employing textbook perfect personal safety habits. Again, I come back to - it is highly unlikely that you will ever need to use you shiny gun skills in a life threatening situation; but safety isn't an all or nothing topic.

"You need something between a harsh word and a gun." - Chuck Haggard

I've always loved the saying: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." And this is so true when it comes to personal safety. Every confrontation is not solved by drawing a gun - this should be a VERY sparingly used solution.

The key to personal safety is OPTIONS and the use of the proper tools at the proper time.

Let's play this out: Someone approaches you and you tell them to stop, they keep coming, you have the wherewithal to yell for them to back up and stay away; but they keep coming closer. They haven't necessarily been overtly aggressive with their words and they have no weapon (other than their bare hands, which can be deadly, of course); but you're very uncomfortable. What do you do? Do you draw a gun on them right away? If all you have is a gun, you might. BUT - what if you had something else? What if you had a non-lethal but HIGHLY effective option that keeps you safe and solves the problem? Um. Sign me up!

Enter my most favorite tool: Pepper Spray. Pepper Spray (OC spray) is that highly effective tool that anyone can use and is an excellent solution to many confrontations.

The problem with pepper spray is that not all products are created equally AND it's not an off-the-shelf solution. Like anything, you don't want to be learning to use it in the moment you need it to save your life. You don't want to find out that the brand you have isn't effective and end up pissing off the bad guys instead of stopping him. OC is a very easy to use and effective tool - just make sure you know that your product will work and how to use it!

If I start excitedly talking about Pepper Spray and you tune me out because you already carry the stuff...ask yourself, "when was the last time you tested it or practiced with it? Oh - and do you know when yours expires?


I started She Shoots Training to help women protect themselves in a variety of situations. And, while I obviously endorse the 2nd Amendment and all of the things that go along with that, it would be a disservice to skip over all the other valuable skills that make up an effective personal safety strategy. So, if you see me roll my eyes when someone says they don't need the RTBAV + Pepper Spray class, now you know why. We all need it - and we need it more than once!

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