Confessions of a Concealed Carrying Woman
I'm Mary Prentiss. I am going to tell you about how I came to carry a concealed pistol for protection. I am very petite, 5' 1” and weigh 105 pounds, so I don't have a lot of muscle power to fend for myself physically. Like most women I don't think that I have the skills or techniques to even hold my own against some guy who is intent on doing me harm. I have taken some hand-to-hand instruction, but still don't have the confidence to protect myself with kicks and fist blows. It's just a fact that most women don't have the personal tools to keep themselves protected from a rapist or other thug who has high intentions. A woman like me has to have a way to surprise an attacker, so much so that the leverage that an attacker might have initially is suddenly shifted to me. Having a well concealed pistol can do that for me.
I have heard of some women who carry their pistol by the “open carry” method. That means they have their gun in a holster, out in the open where everyone can see it. To me that defeats the purpose of having a pistol for protection. If your pistol is exposed, it is easier for someone intent on attacking you to figure out a way to get your gun. For sure it eliminates the surprise element that you want to have any time that an attack might occur. Retaining that surprise capability keeps the leverage in your corner, instead of allowing a criminal to take it at the outset.
I am very private about my self-defense. I really don't think it is anybody's business whether I am carrying a concealed pistol or not. If I had my gun out in the “open” I would have to constantly defend my position about “carrying a gun”. I am not interested in having to spend a lot of time explaining why I carry a gun to anyone. I have already gone through the process of answering the questions personally about concealed carry and have decided that it is the right thing for me to do in order to protect myself. That's nobody's business, but mine.
Since I am very slight in size I had to make some adjustments in my wardrobe in order to concealed carry. I had to put my imagination to work to get the right combination of clothes to keep my pistol concealed. It has taken some effort on my part, but I believe it has paid off and will continue to pay off as time goes on. I am constantly making additions and adjustments to improve my carrying ability by adjusting my wardrobe.
One of the impediments I encountered before I got my concealed carry permit was my lack of confidence and a great deal of anxiety about carrying a gun. I was fearful that I would harm someone or myself. I didn't know anything about the law or anything about where and when I could carry my pistol. I also had very great fear of trying to attend a training class that was filled with a lot of men because the topic of “guns” is considered a masculine subject. Luckily I was able to find a a concealed carry training class just for women. I learned that the popularity of these classes has grown quite a bit since there are so many more women interested in carrying concealed pistols.
I tell you, it as not very long before the fears that I had before were gone. My instructor was a lady that had great experience, ability, and the credentials to give me the right information and training. Some of the first things she told us about were the crime statistics, especially those that involve women as victims. She felt that it was important for us to know what could happen to us in a violent crime. This would helps to properly prepare for a crime against us. The preparation would include the learning the best ways to defend against an attack.
It turns out some statistics show that about 40 percent of women, compared to about 25 percent men reported being hurt in a recent assault. Over 1 million women are estimated to be the victims of stalking in any given year in the U. S. Other statistics say that over 17 percent of women are raped in their lifetime. She told us that these numbers did not include so-called “attempted” rape. If they were in the number it would be much higher. The emotional damage and the mental health issues created by these crimes are carried for the lifetime of the victims, making it very difficult to function normally in all areas of their lives. It had been a long-standing stupid idea that if a woman resisted a rape there was the likelihood of greater injury. Our instructor became very emotional when she said, “Not if you shoot the sucker first!”.
The most disturbing fact she gave use was about the perpetrators of these crimes. Most often the women who are raped are acquainted with the rapist, work associates, church relations, casual contacts, and even family members. Women in positions that require frequent travel an association with strangers in business should be especially equipped for self defense with a concealed carry pistol. Our instructor said that she felt that the statistics do not show the true extent of these crimes. She felt that a lot of women do not report crimes against them in fear of being ostracized or other stigma.
I can't thank my instructor enough for giving me the information about what was really happening to women. This gave me the desire and confidence to be very attentive during training, then practice religiously the concepts that she taught me. I have my concealed carry permit now and go to the range at least once a week. This is because I am still trying to master all the techniques that I know. Later when I feel more confident I will probably only go a couple time a month, but I will never let up keeping myself prepared to defend an attack.