Monday, April 5, 2010

Women get handle on Tasers

Women get handle on Tasers

Hostess puts on parties to teach people basic self defense and how to use certain weapons.
Updated: Friday, April 2, 2010 8:56 PM PDT

When Dana Shafman drives her car, she likes to play the game “Who’s the Victim” with herself.

Shafman likes to see who is most likely to become a victim of assault, and she has no problem spotting them — the jogger wearing earphones, the woman walking alone and chatting on her cell phone.

“It’s a fun game, and what it does, it gets you more aware of your behavior,” she said. “The more you do it, the more you are going to be aware of your own behavior and how it’s going to impact you.”

Helping people avoid becoming victims is Shafman’s business. In a house on Huntington Beach Harbour, she held her first Taser Party in Orange County on Saturday.

A group of women and a few men gathered around a collection of different-colored Tasers, pepper spray, knives and flashlights as Shafman taught them basic self defense and how to use a Taser.

“This is for you guys. I pretty much know all this,” she said to the party. “My goal is to leave you guys with more information than you came with.”

Shafman started Shieldher, which puts on Taser Parties in addition to providing personal safety information, in 2007 after her own personal safety was compromised with not one, but two stalkers in one year.

Now, the Arizona native goes everywhere with what she considers her everyday essentials — a Taser, flashlight and whistle.

“It’s not necessarily the device that will save your life; it’s the fact that you are prepared that will save your life,” she said.

Cindy Ho, the hostess and Shieldher’s regional manager for Orange County and Los Angeles, said the thought of a Taser originally made her nervous.

Now, she carries one with her everywhere.

“It’s nice to have because once you have one, it’s peace of mind,” Ho said.

Berkeley resident Aya Seto, 23, a guest at the party, said she was glad she came to learn more about how to protect herself.

Seto came to the party after having a bad experience of her own. Walking home one night after midnight, she was accosted by a strange man who tried to pull her with him.

She managed to get away, but many women don’t.

More than 40,000 people are victims of rape every year and the majority are women, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. One in six women in the United States will be raped or have a close encounter, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Although not ready for any kind of weapon, Seto said she feels more confident with the self-defense maneuvers she learned.

“I don’t think I’ll directly buy into [carrying a Taser] now . . . but I feel safer knowing about all this,” she said.

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