Being a black woman in America is not for the weak. We not only have to deal with the threat of misogyny and violence as a woman but also the threat of discrimination and violence as a black person. This can make us vulnerable to dangerous situations.
Despite that, we shouldn’t be afraid to explore the world independently and do things alone. BAUCE women are independent by nature and don’t need to rely on anyone else to make their moves. That said, learning how to defend ourselves is a must to ensure our safety when we fall prey to threatening situations.
Desstoni “Nina” Johnson, owner of FAB Firearms Academy, is a self-defense advocate for women and has trained over 1,000 women to use firearms safely and protect themselves in the face of danger. Desstoni talked to BAUCE about how women can defend themselves, with or without a firearm, and confidently stand their ground. Here are some tips she shared:
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
The first rule of self-defense is to be aware of yourself and your environment. “When we’re working women and the boss of our own world, we start to feel like ‘okay I’m invincible and nothing can touch me,’” says Johnson. “But you still have to have some level of self-awareness and situational awareness.”
This means using discretion when in the public eye. Johnson advises avoiding situations that heighten your exposure to danger such as going places alone late at night and being too accessible to strangers. “Exercise your common sense…You keep yourself out of a lot of situations by avoiding the situations altogether.”
Conceal and Carry Your Weapon
Anybody who has a license to carry should always use their firearm responsibly. Part of that responsibility is keeping your weapon concealed when you carry it.
“A lot of people are under the [impression] that if they open carry and people can see that they have a firearm, it’s gonna deter them and scare them off, but it actually has the opposite effect,” says Johnson. Desstoni urges women to be discreet when carrying a firearm to avoid drawing any negative attention and foster the element of surprise.
When concealing your weapon, there is no one size fits all. Johnson encourages women to find a style that is most effective for them. Some options include on your waist in a holster, underneath your garments with a clip-on belt, or even underneath your breast.
Although women might think carrying in their purse is the best option, Johnson suggests against it, citing that your purse is more likely to be stolen and also can be the least accessible option in the heat of the moment.
For those who prefer not to use a firearm, there are other options available for your protection such as self-defense keychains, pepper spray, or tasers that you can carry on your person as well.
Share Your Location with People You Trust
Even if you have all the skills to defend yourself properly, it can also be beneficial to let your loved ones know your whereabouts so another person can account for your safety too.
“I still share my location with somebody at all times,” says Johnson. “Like I’m not too grown to tell somebody where I’m going, what I’m doing, and when to expect me back. [Someone] always has my location, especially when I’m traveling solo so that somebody is looking out for me even if they’re not physically there.”
Arming yourself with a weapon is a great way to defend yourself, but if you choose to do so, Johnson highly encourages you to invest in classes with certified instructors to properly train you.
“In our communities, there are a lot of people who are familiar with guns, but being familiar with guns doesn’t make you a teacher. You can know information and not be good at articulating that information to another person,” explains Johnson. “So when you take a class [with an instructor] you have an objective person that has all the patience in the world to help you walk through all the steps and get started.”
Even after you get familiar with your weapon, Johnson recommends staying consistent with your practice to retain your knowledge and skill of firing. She believes gun training is a forever process and can be a degradable skill if you aren’t consistent.
“You’d be surprised how many people have less security and haven’t been to the range in three years, because it’s not something that you’re constantly thinking about. Nobody is constantly thinking about having to shoot somebody one day in self-defense. So it’s not a priority.”
If guns aren’t your thing, Desstoni says taking other forms of self-defense classes that focus on hand-to-hand combat such as Brazilian Jujitsu, Krav Maga, or martial arts can be just as beneficial.
Desstoni’s training school, FAB Firearms Academy, welcomes women from all walks of life, despite their license status, to become a student and gain the knowledge needed to defend themselves safely and properly with firearms. You can keep up with Desstoni on X, Instagram, and TikTok @Ninadelaflores and get more information about FAB Firearms Academy here.