A Change of Mindset

Guns weren't part of my upbringing and crime wasn't something I had ever been particularly concerned with. The only self-defense I recall learning was "don't talk to strangers." The first time I was raped, I didn't tell anyone because I was ashamed. The anger at the injustice was devastating, and I ended up going down a path that led to many painful experiences and heartache.

As a young woman, I lived in a town next to a military base. I befriended a serviceman pre deployment, & I planned a homecoming event for him. That evening, while we and other guys from his unit hung out, he had a psychotic break. He broke a champagne glass, shoved it through my nose, and stabbed me in my chest with a knife, though to this day, I cannot remember even seeing a knife. I was stabbed 3 times, yet can only recall the first blow.

By the time I was able to process what was happening, the damage was done. It happened so fast and was so unexpected, that I wasn¹t able to defend myself. My nose had to be reconstructed and I am so grateful that I am still able to fully smile. I had a difficult time coping. I became depressed and overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, which sent me further down that very destructive road.

I met my husband and we quickly married. When he was discharged, we moved to his hometown- just south of Oakland, Ca, and that's when we purchased our first gun, a Remington 870 Express. We had to wait 10 days and received many disapproving looks for our purchase. I fired it once to make sure I could, and it stayed tucked away at home. I relied heavily on my husband for my safety. I couldn't be alone or go out at night, and I was suffering physically from the effects of my intense fear.

Years later, I received my restitution and I decided I was going to learn to shoot. We purchased a variety of firearms, and my husband taught me the fundamentals. I eventually got my enhanced CCW, and I joined the NRA, the USCCA, and The Well Armed Woman. The more I learned & trained, the more confident I became, and the once crippling anxiety subsided.

I changed my mindset. I made the conscious decision to stop living like a victim and became a survivor. I've learned a few of things from my experiences:

1) During a critical incident, I can¹t count on someone coming to rescue me- I learned that from my rape experience. My personal safety is my responsibility- not my husband's, not the police's-mine. It is my responsibility to be aware of my surroundings and to not insert myself into dangerous situations.

 2) It is my right to arm myself as I see fit. I have lost too much, too many times and I refuse to be victimized any further!  

3) It¹s also my responsibility to train regularly. Having first-hand experience of the effects of stress during a critical incident, I can testify that reality based defensive training is extremely important. There is so much to overcome in a critical incident: identifying the threat and being able to access and present my weapon, all while battling my body's instinct to freeze while processing the information, not to mention the loss of coordination in my extremities! I will always fall back on my training, so I work to make it count and train often!

I want to take my painful memories and use them for good. My dream is to become an instructor and to teach women to effectively defend themselves. If my story inspires one woman to start taking her personal defense into her own hands, then it is worth sharing.  ANONYMOUS