Mary sits in my class and nervously explains why she decided to attend. Her ex-husband continues to walk through restraining orders, and she is in constant fear that he will kidnap their child.
Jenny has an ex-boyfriend who is stalking her, tracking her location, so she is constantly looking over her shoulder and is afraid of getting trapped anywhere alone where he could seriously hurt her.
Sarah contacts me because she is trying to research options on how she can possibly get out of her situation alive. Her only opportunity to do this research is at work because she is under constant surveillance by her boyfriend, who monitors her phone, her exposure to friends and family, and he even lays out her outfits every day so she doesn’t wear anything ‘inappropriate’. Sarah is in fear for her life if she tries to leave again. She has attempted escape a few times before, unsuccessfully.
These are real women in real situations I hear about every day. Women seek me out through my training courses, or as a general resource to guide them in dealing with their abusive situation and sometimes, what seems like impossible circumstances. There are many resources available when a woman or man is in an abusive relationship, has a stalker, or has been assaulted. But resources aren’t always easily accessible, or the process can seem intimidating, the victims of these crimes are slow to take action, which could mean life or death for some.
As a victim and survivor of domestic violence myself, and the owner of a personal safety business in the firearms industry, I understand the criminal and personal aspects of these individuals. Domestic Violence is not very frequently referred to as a ‘crime’ since it has its own coined term, but in reality, an abuser is perpetrating a crime against their victim every single day by taking away their sense of freedom, power, and their ability to live their own life as they wish.
A surprise to many is that experts in the firearms community are often a resource for support in ways beyond the actual use of guns. In reality, there are many resources, including experts within the firearms community. Most professionals in the industry are advocates of personal safety in general, and are educated in many self -defense options and strategies, the gun being only one of many tools. There are many individuals and organizations out there, who do not support firearms as an option. However, based on everything I have experienced and seen, I disagree.
With that being said, NOTABLY, when someone is in a domestic violence situation, and the offender is living with them or has constant access to them, that is NOT the time to introduce the firearm. After the person has gotten out and into a safe environment, ONLY THEN is the firearm another tool they could consider having, as long as they transition into a better mental state and devote some time to training. Waiting until someone is out of the ‘living/constant access’ situation is crucial for everyone’s safety.
The NRA has a wonderful program called Refuse to Be a Victim, a non-firearm related course, which provides women and men with defensive strategies and tools to protect themselves.
The Well Armed Woman has local chapters across the country where women can attend ongoing training meetings to connect with trainers and other women who can help them decide what safety courses best fit their lifestyle.
GirlOnFire, LLC also offers regular courses, at various locations, including college/university campuses, community sponsored events, and corporations. These courses are made available through the non-firearms training division, unless the person has moved to the latter stage in their process. Private counsel is available to assist in eliminating the ‘fear’ and offer realistic, smart defensive and personal safety solutions. Another focus is training for men and women on sports teams, military bases, law enforcement departments, and on college campuses where smart decision-making could mean their entire future. Through this education, women (and men) gain their power back, so they ultimately increase their chances of saving themselves and/or their children.
For parents concerned about firearm safety in their homes, the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe ensures safety through gunlocks and the NRA’s Eddie Eagle videos are amazing resources that are readily available to keep you and your family safe while exercising your right to self defense with firearms.
Whatever your situation, wherever you’re coming from – we’re here for you.
Don’t wait another day, please reach out and start walking your path to freedom now.
Here are a few other available resources for immediate help:
Mary Kay Don’t Look Away Campaign – text ‘Love is’ to 22522 and a live person will text back and provide support if you cannot communicate in any other way.
Black Dot Campaign – If you are in an abusive situation and have no way to communicate and are out in public, you can put a black dot on your palm and once shown, this indicates to whoever sees it to call the police immediately.
Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-SAFE
Jody Maki, CEO of GirlOnFire.life
Credentials: NRA Training Counselor, Certified Pistol Instructor, Chief Range Safety Officer, Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification Instructor and MD HQL Instructor