As womxn and young girls in South Africa, we often find ourselves feeling vulnerable or threatened in self-defence situations. It’s natural to experience these emotions when faced with potential danger. However, with the right knowledge and tools, we can empower ourselves and increase our chances of staying safe. In this blog post, we will delve into the flight, freeze, fight, and fawn responses, and explore how understanding them and trusting our intuition are crucial in self-defense. Additionally, we’ll provide practical tips that are relatable and compassionate, helping you navigate and respond effectively in self-defense situations.
The flight, freeze, fight, fawn response is a natural reaction to danger or threat. Here’s a breakdown of each response:
The flight response is when our instinct tells us to run away from danger. This response can be useful in situations where escape is possible. Imagine finding yourself walking alone at night and suddenly noticing a group of strangers following closely behind you. Your instinctive response might be to quickly change your route, increase your pace, or seek a well-lit and populated area where you feel safer. If you find yourself in a situation where the flight response is appropriate, it’s essential to listen to your instincts in self-defense and get away from the danger as quickly as possible.
The freeze response is when our body instinctively “freezes” in the face of danger. For instance, picture yourself walking in a quiet park when you suddenly come across a suspicious-looking person blocking your path. In that moment, you might feel your body tense up, and you find yourself rooted to the spot, hoping to go unnoticed or buying time to assess the situation and determine the best course of action. Such moments can be overwhelming – it is extremely important to recognize when it is time to move and take action to get to safety.
The fight response is when our instinct tells us to fight back against the danger. Consider a scenario where you encounter someone attempting to physically harm you. In this situation, your instinctive response might be to fight back fiercely, using any means necessary to protect yourself, such as striking vulnerable areas or creating a distraction to escape.
The fawn response is a relatively new addition to the flight, freeze, fight, or flight response and is not as commonly known. It is a response to trauma, where we try to appease or please the person or situation that is causing us harm. However, the fawn response can leave us vulnerable to further harm and abuse. It is crucial to recognize this response if it occurs and seek professional help or guidance from a licensed therapist to ensure our well-being and safety.
Knowing the different responses can help you understand how you may react in a self-defense situation. However, it’s important to note that not all responses are appropriate for every situation. It’s crucial to assess the level of danger and respond accordingly.
Trusting your intuition is another important aspect of self-defense. Your intuition can provide warning signs that may indicate danger. Here are some signs that your intuition may be warning you:
Trusting your intuition requires practice and awareness. Staying present at the moment, listening to your body, and practising mindfulness can all help you trust your instincts in a self-defense situation.
Combining the knowledge of the flight, freeze, fight, fawn response with trusting your intuition can help you respond effectively in a self-defense situation. Here are some tips for using your intuition and response strategies in self-defense:
Your intuition is a powerful tool that can help you make better decisions and navigate life’s challenges. Here are some ways you can train your intuition:
Understanding the flight, freeze, fight, fawn response, and trusting your intuition are vital aspects of self-defense. Remember to stay calm, assess each situation, and trust your instincts. If you’re looking for a practical exercise to deepen your understanding of safety and empower yourself, we highly recommend utilizing our Personal Safety Workbook. It can help you gain valuable insights into what safety means to you and enhance your overall awareness.