Under: Self-defense
7 Mar 2010


I’m sure that you have heard about the rash of girls attacked in Southern California lately. Is there any one answer? Is it safe for girls to go out of the house anymore? Is is fair that girls can be victimized like this?


There are far too many of these questions that people think of to rationalize their view – so the world still makes sense if you will. While I generally think that girls and women that go out running alone with sparse people around, are at higher risk. I still tend to think that the vast majority of these girls and women will not get assaulted.


This is of no value to the girls that do get attacked. First off it is not fair that girls have to take more precautions then boys do. Boys have to be careful too but seem to take more chances then girls do and end up ok more often. This is a feeling I get and have not validated it statistically (based on my own experience.


In this post I will talk a bit and like to stories of the recent victims. I will talk about women’s equal rights and expectation of safety in a free society and how this should be mitigated by reality. I will stress that none of they girls did anything wrong. There are just some bad people in the world. I will talk about how I try to stay safe and the precautions I have to take and how girls and women might adjust their safety plan to decrease their exposure to risk. Here is one video of recent events to start the dialog.


That video highlighted that fighting back can work to a girls advantage. It is a tough call for a women though to decide to fight back. I mean has a woman had any self-defense training so she is confident that she can do something? Does she have mace or a stun gun (handy)? What if she pisses off the attacker who only (I use the term “only” in the lesser of evils sense) wanted to rob her and let her go? All of these things should be considered before one finds herself attacked (hopefully).

I guess it does not help that there is no right answer but I can say for sure that it is possible the bad guy does not want any evidence of the attack and he will kill the victim. It is also true that fighting back in some way is the best chance a woman has to get away. Acquiescing and hoping for the best is not for sure the best possible outcome (although it might work).

So before we talk about the victims, what can you do and is it fair? Girls and women to be safe have to limit exposure to areas that are remote or do not have lots of people around to help out.

Is this fair to women and girls? NO. Will most women and girls heed this advice? NO. If anything happens is it the women or girl’s fault NO!

Let me say at this point that as a lifetime self-defense instructor (of the karate persuasion), that I too have to mitigate my exposure to bad situations. I used to be a bouncer at a bar for a couple of years when I turned 21 years old. I’ve been in 100 or so bar fights while dispensing my duties. Do you want to know how many fights I’ve been in for the next 29 years? None. Why? Because I don’t hang out in bars or go the the bad parts of town after dark (or mostly even in daylight).

You might be wondering why I, a black belt in karate with lots of street fighting experience would avoid bad areas even though arguably I could probably handle it? Well an attack is a living – breathing thing. I mean there are no assurances the other guy won’t have a hidden knife or gun. No one can for sure know he or she will win a fight!

So looking at this from the hindsight of reality – girls and women should not take as many chances as I do. Women are the weaker sex (please know that I am not talking equality here but reality) and most men are stronger than most women. That means women need an edge in an altercation. But the best plan is the old adage, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The rules should be something along these lines:

  • Avoid high risk activities such as jogging at night or in remote areas without a guy, big aggressive dog, or mace/pepper spray/stungun
  • Be aware of your surroundings (yes that means no iPods/phones in your ears ladies – save them for the gym’s treadmill where you are safe)
  • Take at a minimum a self-defense course and I would suggest some type of fighting training – what does not really matter – they all should be good so long as you practice
  • Walk against traffic in the daytime. Try not to drive alone at night

I am sure many girls and women will look at this advice and think it is not fair. I mean most if not all have done these high risk activities and nothing happened. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security due to past experience. The small minority of bad experiences that some women encounter should point out that it is far better to be safe then sorry later.

I have some experience with this as my step-daughter has heard it all from my wife and I. I have mentioned to her all of the ways to keep safe and then she saw that none of her friends take any of these precautions so she has given lip services to my wife’s and my concerns (and did what she wanted most time probably). The fact that she is safe today is good but I wish that she (and all girls and women) would take the extra precautions.

Now for the recent events in SoCal. Logan Jenkins of the local San Diego newspaper, wrote a nice article about girls jogging entitled, “Beware, there may be monsters on the trail.” He gives an overview of the Chelsa King incident and argues that girls must be warriors too – relates an incident of a Maryland woman. His piece does not really have any answers but asks all of the right questions. We are all reeling from the latest spree of attacks on young women.

This next article points out that another runner, Candice Moncayo was attacked last year in the same park and it might be tied to last year’s Amber Dobois kidnapping (she has not been found as of this writing) in nearby Escondido, CA. Update while writing this post Amber Dobois’ remains have been found – story here.

Now it is thought that the animal that got Chelsea King might have attacked Amber Dubois. Another recent attack took place in Chula Vista (South of  San Diego) while a woman was jogging in a park at night here. Here is a video last week about the suspect in the Chelsea King murder.

Let me stop here because I am getting overwhelmed by the totality of these animals stalking girls. Please remember that girls and women in a free society have equal rights but not equal outcomes if attacked. So women and girls should take extra precautions AND learn self-defense at a minimum. I also endorse pepper spray, stun guns, large protective dogs and protective boy friends and husbands along with basic home and vehicle safety.

Remember there are no perfect solutions to bad men stalking women but with some simple – easily doable percautions, most women can mitigate some of their risk.

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7 Responses to “Girls Attacked Jogging in SoCal; What Can We Do?”

  1. TheMartialArtsReporter Says:

    Hey John,
    You did an awesome job reporting
    on this very disturbing topic.
    I feel for these and girls/women
    being attacked.
    It really ticks me off, big time,
    what happens out there way too often.
    I am compelled to continue my quest
    to make aware of the necessity of
    women’s self-defense starting with avoidance
    and awareness of certain situations and areas
    as you so often describe.
    I picked up on a story that you already wrote
    about in 2008.
    My reminder/version of it was already scheduled for
    this Thursday even before reading your today’s post,
    which only reaffirms my sentiment.
    Keep up the great work and let’s continue the good fight.
    Stay safe!
    .-= TheMartialArtsReporter´s last blog ..Do You Really Have A Combat Mindset? =-.

  2. Matt Says:

    Nicely written John. It’s funny, I was just discussing the same thing over on my blog how nobody gets a free pass when it comes to personal safety, and as unfortunate as it is we have to recognize the possibilities for becoming a victim.

    I think your article here brings to light one of the realities of self defense for women.

    well done.
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Even Funakoshi Got Caught Off Guard =-.

  3. Marciais BRASIL Says:

    Hello! I read your question “How easy can your martial art transition to self-defense and do you train for this!” on http://convocation.ning.com/. I thought it was very interesting. Two days ago I made a blog about marcial arts too for brazilians. I ejoyed yours and linked on mine. Bye!
    .-= Marciais BRASIL´s last blog ..TOP Marcial Shots – Parte I =-.

  4. Dr. J Says:

    We had a similar incident here a while ago. A woman was running very early in the morning in an upscale neighborhood and was attacked. He jumped out of the bushes and hit her with a pistol in the face, then sexually assaulted her. I think the only thing that saved her is someone else came along. They thought the rapist was trying to help a fallen woman, but seeing the other guy, the rapist ran away. He has never been caught. I don’t think that martial arts training would have saved her, it happened so fast.
    [edited to make ad friendly after this point]
    I run alone almost every day along a deserted country road. I was attacked by three wild [animals of the canine persuasion] a few years ago on my run. There is no doubt in my mind that my training saved me! I was only bit once on the leg over a 10 minute battle, and I eventually got away, slowly putting distance between the raw meat they had been eating and me. I lost that battle, but I won the war when after I ran home, I came back, and country justice prevailed. If someone less skilled than me, or a child had come across them, they would have been [hurt by the offending beasts], in my opinion.
    .-= Dr. J´s last blog ..Lab Notes: Like Salt or Sweets, the Human Tongue Can “Taste” Fat; Overprotective Parents May Slow Kids’ Brain Growth =-.

  5. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hey Tiger – thanks and we have to keep up the good fight!

    Hi Matt! I read your post… a lot to digest that even the greatest fighters will have to resort to self-defense. You can never tell who you are messing with… better to always be respectful.

    Hi Marciais! Cool looking website – I added your link. Thanks for the link back.

    Hi Dr J! Yep there is no real defense against being blind sided except for (hopefully esp or awareness) a little luck! Most anyone can fall to this type of attack. If you can take a few shots your chances go way up (if you are a fighter).

    Most people are afraid of animals for some reason… they only have one weapon but more than one is tough! Good job Dr. J! I’d say your training pulled you through for sure.

  6. ConcealedSafety Says:

    This is a great looking and informative website. Women can protect themselves if they take the right precautions. I have a website you can check out: http://www.concealedsafety.com.

  7. SOS Says:

    20 ways to keep yourself safe
    Here are 20 tips that may help you protect yourself from becoming a victim of sexual assault.
    – 1. Try not to isolate yourself or your location Day or night when you are alone you are much more vulnerable. Mace spray may be your best protection if you do find yourself alone.

    – 2. Stay in the light. Criminals thrive on the element of surprise.

    – 3. Get in the car, don’t hang around parking lots. Get in the car and drive.

    – 4. Practice with your weapon of choice. Take a class read a book, research and practice your moves. Be prepared when the time comes.

    – 5. Organize, don’t reach for your mace spray and pull out your pen. Keep your hand bag in order and your weapons in an easy to reach location.

    – 6. Carry weapons to protect yourself as often as possible.

    – 7. Know your weaknesses. Bad knees lacking endurance. Work on your weakness’s and make them your strength’s.

    – 8. Stay vigilant watch your back and know your surroundings.

    – 9. Think on your feet and be prepared. Respond quickly.

    – 10. Wait in a well lit area. When waiting for transportation stay within reach of other people.

    – 11. Busy train compartments are the safer option when traveling late at night

    – 12. Medium traffic train compartments are a good choice during rush hours. You don’t want to be groped or fondled without finding out who the perpetrator is.

    – 13. Have your keys ready when on your way to the car. Get in and go

    – 14. When driving keep your doors locked and your windows closed.

    – 15. Keep your car locked. At the gas station store or library you can never be too careful.

    – 16. Call a taxi instead of hailing one. The driver can be better traced this way.

    – 17. Walk against traffic so you can be better seen by oncoming cars. Be sure not to get blinded by the lights though.

    – 18. Avoid using an MP3 or anything that plugs into your ears. You need to be alert and aware of your surroundings.

    – 19. Watch your drinks. Someone may slip something into your drink that could render you helpless.

    – 20. Practice self defense and take classes!
    All your security needs at http://www.sos-defense.com