Over 200 people attended a rally for concealed carry in Illinois. There was a lot of attention paid to how the Illinois State Police suggested women protect themselves. They have since removed their advice listed on their website on how to handle a sexual assault as have other IL police departments. I couldn't find a single one that still had active links but found discussions online going back 5 years. Tips included fighting back with everything in your purse to finally shoving your fingers down your throat to induce vomiting. This is to make you less attractive to your rapist. Rape is an act of power and dominance. Grandma in her mumu or a 6 year old in her Winnie the Pooh PJs are an easy target, not exactly attractive so where did this idea come from? From my point of view, someone who enjoys feeling powerful by making another feel helpless is going to ENJOY watching her try to make herself vomit. And if she succeeds, he'll probably beat her for it.
Being raised in central New York state, I had never held a handgun nor knew anyone who owned one. Only police had them because the permits are so hard to get. Rifles and shotguns were everywhere and often the centerpiece of most living room decor. No one was allowed to have a handgun for self protection because we couldn't prove that we needed it. According to NY state law, just my existence as a human being isn't reason enough to qualify for protection. Only special people like Rosie O'Donnell deserved to protect their life and family.
When I first met Knitebane, he was 31 and I was 20. I had been a victim of a sexual assault years before that did not end in rape but there was some mental damage done and it clouded everything around me. More damage was done by the Rape Crisis Center, instilling a fear of all men and the belief that anyone with a penis is a rapist. I was lucky that I was able to escape but I was always looking to escape any situation I was in. I had such a large personal bubble around me, I'm still not sure how I managed to have any friends. At the time we didn't know it but I also have PTSD from events that happened when I was a very small child. I wasn't looking to get into a relationship, I never planned on ever being in a relationship. My only goals in life were to finish college and make enough money to by some land, have a few horses, and not be bothered by anyone around me.
One of the things that women who were abused do is find men who abuse them. They find someone who is strong and violent so that he will keep the scary monsters away. She is willing to endure the beatings as long as he will protect her from the unknown. I am not sure how I found a man who is not physically abusive and avoided repeating the cycle but I do thank God for that. Falling in love with Knitebane was very sudden and intense. What he treasured in me was my brutal honesty and I craved the strength that I saw in him. I can tell you that I felt safe with this man no matter what. He held me in his arms and it was very clear that had he wanted to hurt me he could have, but I knew he wouldn't. To this day, I still enjoy that feeling of security when he holds me with an iron grip but I don't need that display of power anymore to feel safe. When we met, I really did need a protector and I don't think he wanted to be that person but he adapted. He didn't understand the panic attacks, the complete meltdown I had in a mall once but he endured them. KB is a man of action, not words. When I have been in bad situations, his answer has always been to help pull me out, not yell, "I SUPPORT YOU!" After being together for a very long time, he has learned how to just provide moral support while I gripe about things but it drives him nuts especially if he can see a way to fix it. Over the past fifteen years, one of his goals has always been to make sure that I learned how to protect myself. We are not there just yet.
Every five years or so, I notice a bit of a mind shift in me. Things that I value become different. What I'm willing to spend energy on changes as I grow as a person. By the time I was in my late 20's, I no longer lived my life in constant fear. KB kept muttering about getting concealed carry permits and that I needed to learn how to shoot. Years went by with no action. Then we bought a house outside of city limits. It was broken into right before we moved in. When the detective came out to chat with me, he told me to get armed. What?
Back to when we first met, I realized the first time I saw KB's handgun that I knew nothing and because of that, it would be dangerous for me to handle the gun. He taught me basic handgun safety and did teach me to shoot with a Beretta Bobcat at one point but I barely knew the parts of a gun, just to keep my finger off the trigger. He had me shoot his 1911 at dusk once and I proved I was a girl and showed no more interest in shooting. I bought a Ruger 10/22 with the first $300 tax rebate check under George W's administration. I shot it a couple of times but for the most part, it just sat in the closet. We weren't members of a range and we lived in an apartment in town so I had few opportunities to shoot.
Being told to get a gun was the last thing I expected to hear. That was in May of 2008 and I didn't get my concealed carry permit until December. During that time, I took some one on one instruction at the local range. I told KB that if he wanted me to carry a gun, we had to go every week. What I was trying to say was I need to learn that muscle memory. I wanted to know how to use the tool, not be afraid of it or afraid of shooting myself. There are things that you learn only with time and lots of practice.
This past Valentines Day, I began carrying on my person concealed. I've had my permit for several years and have carried in a purse or fanny pack when walking the dogs so this was a new experience. I've known that purse carry is not the best option and did my best with cross body purses for a little more security. It is odd to always keep your purse on you, including when visiting friends and family. Carrying a Ruger SP101 around all the time, all 25 ounces of it unloaded, is impressive and people have teased me about having a gun or lead in there. To compensate, I started carrying my netbook and kindle around, trying to explain the weight. Even though I am keeping the purse as close to me as possible, it still isn't as secure as having the gun on my body, inside the waistband of my pants. Mentally, it was uncomfortable at first because there is a constant reminder that YOU HAVE A GUN ON YOU. By the end of the first week, my holster was becoming second nature to me. After two weeks, I am working on carrying from when I get out of bed to when I return to it 18 hours later. My wardrobe is going to need some updating.
Mal said it best, "Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back! Wife or no, you are no one's property to be tossed aside. You got the right same as anyone to live and try to kill people." It is my body and I refuse to ever be a victim again. No one has the right to lay a hand on me and threaten me. This next year is going to be a very interesting year as I plan on taking as many self defense classes as we can afford. Hopefully we'll be able to take a couple's self defense class before the year is out and learn how to shoot together. Expect to see some holster reviews from me soon, starting with the Remora.