Just recently, when on a trip to the city with my boyfriend, I purchased a pocketknife. I'm in the army, so one of the practical tools to have with you is something to cut things with. However, my main influence in making this purchase was not my career, but for safety. I am in the process of acquiring a Bachelor's degree, and while it is small university town in Nova Scotia, I live off campus and more times than not, I have to walk home alone at night.
As the days get shorter and winter approaches, the likelihood of being out when it is dark only increases. Now, I'm in fairly good shape, of average height and fairly confident in my ability to scream or run if I were to ever run into trouble. However, sometimes that isn't enough. I would call my boyfriend and talk to him for the duration of my walks home, and would repeatedly express my desire to have something on me to defend myself if I ever needed to. He agreed with me that it would be a good investment. He, also being in the army, has a few knives himself, and has knowledge of self-defense, knowledge that he since has been teaching to me.
Buying my pocketknife has given me peace of mind. It is small enough that I can carry in my jeans or jacket pocket and goes generally unnoticed. It also has a clip so it can be securely in your pocket and easily accessed. The small blade has a hole for your thumb and is spring assisted, which allows for a quick draw with practice. I've only had it for a short while and am able to get it from my pocket and open into a defensive position in the matter of seconds. Being smaller, it fits comfortably in my hand and is easy to maneuver.
The best thing about it? Most people would not expect for me to have it. This automatically gives me an upper hand in any situation where I would feel threatened enough to draw it. Chances are, the intimidation factor you drawing a knife, especially if your attacker doesn't have one themselves, is enough to get them to back off. If not, a knife, even one of the size of mine, is enough to do some serious damage. Interesting and surprising fact: It takes only one pound of pressure to cut human skin. I've already nicked myself by accident with practicing my draw, and not only did it hurt, it sliced pretty deep. I definitely would not want to be on the receiving end of it. It is my hope that, if I ever run into a situation where I feel threatened, the person(s) doing the threatening won't want to be, either.
Now the chances of something happening are slim, but like anything else, there is a chance. Even university campuses have horror stories. If you indeed find yourself in a situation, the last thing you want to do is be unprotected. Let's just go over the main factors I'm trying to get across to all women out there.
1. Buy a knife.
Mine cost just over $50. They can come cheaper than that or pricier. There are also many different types. Chances are the person selling them will know a thing or two. Don't be afraid to ask questions, or ask to see it out of the display case.
2. Learn how to use it.
You can be lucky like me and know someone who knows a thing or two about using them. If not, there is this wonderful thing called the Internet. There are many articles and videos out there with information on how to use a variety of knives. You don't have to get complex, either. The basics of self-defense are enough.
3. Practice, and get comfortable with it.
You don't want to be the owner of a knife and be scared of it. You need to handle it enough so that you are comfortable using it, drawing it quickly, transitioning, slashing and stabbing. Don't buy it and tuck it into your pocket and forget about it. Chances are, too, you may cut yourself at first. I've already done that twice. It happens, and if anything it teaches you to be more careful.
4. Keep it in a practical, easy-to-reach place.
You want to be able to reach your knife in seconds, not root through your purse or backpack for it. Best idea is a pocket, either in your pants or your jacket. It can also be kept on your belt, and easily hidden underneath a longer shirt. It is possible, too, if the knife is small enough, and you do not have pockets or a belt, to keep it in your bra.
Carrying a pocket knife on you is a good idea even if you do not find yourself in situations where you may need it, like my situation where I often have to walk alone after dark. You can never know when it could come in handy, and not just for self-defense. If you are in a car accident, for example, and need to cut your seatbelt free if it gets stuck. There are plenty of situations where you can find yourself in need of something to cut things with and are empty-handed. Do not let that happen.
In Canada, you are allowed to carry a knife, lots of people do, as long as the blade does not exceed 6 inches in length. Knives like switchblades and butterfly knives are illegal, but that still leaves open a wide variety of knives to choose from.
There is the argument of course, that you will hear from lots of people. If a woman is attacked by a man of 200-some pounds, to what extent would you be able to defend yourself, knife or no knife? I would rather have a knife and attempt to defend myself affectively rather than have nothing at all.