by Michele Shackelford, staff
| While this show is fiction, the statistic is
real. According to RAINN.org (Rape Abuse and Incest National
Network) a woman in America is sexually assaulted at least once
every two and a half minutes: 200,780 in 2004-05. One in six
American women are victims of sexual assault; 44 percent of them
are under age 18 and 80 percent are under 30.
Add these to domestic abuse statistics: one woman is battered
every 15 seconds, and domestic violence is the number one cause
of emergency room visits by women.
These statistics are making women more aware of the need to protect
themselves from attackers and generating a growing self-defense
market providing protective devises to women. These include such
useful gadgets as stun guns, tear gas, pepper spray, and personal
alarms. While some of these products are standards and have proven
to be very effective, there are some new and useful variations.
A stun gun is a hand-held, battery-powered device that is used
to electrically shock an attacker. It sends an electric charge
through two prongs that must be in direct contact with an attacker.
According to Milestone Safety Products, which manufactures the
devices, the shock is disabling, causing an attacker to loose
control of muscle movement and balance, and to become disorientated.
The entire process takes only a few seconds and can be very painful;
it can also disable an attacker for up to 30 minutes, long enough
to run away, get help, or call the police.
Tear gas and pepper spray are two other forms of self- defense
products that comes in various shapes and sizes, but they are
not legal in Hawai‘i. They may come in a simple packaging
as a can, or they may be shaped as lipstick to fit innocuously
in a purse.
Personal alarms are a small devices that emit a loud, siren-like
sound when activated. They can be easily held, attached to a
belt, or carried in a purse and are usually activated by simply
pushing a button or pulling a string.
In addition to calling public attention, personal alarms startle
an attacker, and giving potential victims time to run away. And
they cannot be used against the victim, which is an advantage
over the others devices.