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Fending off attack


Albany, NY – For many women, walking alone at night is a frightening proposition. Whether it's a fear of someone jumping out of the bushes or hiding in our cars, we're taught to be careful when alone - but we aren't necessarily taught how to fend off an attacker if one does leap out at us. While violent crime is decreasing in the United States, there were 5.4 million committed in this country in 2003. That's according to The National Center for Victims of Crime. Author and journalist Ellen Snortland was one of those millions more than 15 years ago, when a man jumped her on her front porch. Since, Snortland has written a book on self-defense called Beauty Bites Beast and writes weekly columns about sexual harassment and self-defense.

So, if you buy Ellen Snortland's arguments, a self-defense class is a must. But finding a good one can be difficult...and intimidating. We sent 51%'s Jill Rontey on a hunt for a full-impact self-defense class. And, good sport that she is, she went. Here's an audio journal of her experience.

Women are often taught the best way to approach a potentially risky situation is to avoid it. Case in point: the forest. From fairy tales to slasher films, the woods are painted as dangerous territory. And women are discouraged from entering nature alone. But Pamela Waxman thinks the best way to approach those potential dangers is through facing them. She insists on hiking alone, even though her sister was murdered in a wooded area. Independent producer Kyle Norris put together this report for a public radio series called The Environment Report.