How to protect yourself from sexual assault

How to protect yourself from sexual assault

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Workout weather has arrived and I’m jogging on a trail at the Greenway. I’ve got my playlist on and I’m in the zone. Everything seems normal. but...

[In a simulation, James Robinson demonstrates an attack from behind.]

An attack like this could happen to anyone, and James Robinson with the Yakima School of Karate says my lack of awareness easily made me a target. While running away from the attacker may be plan 'A,' if that's not an option, you need to put up a fight.

“So, a lot of the stuff that was around you was pretty loud - gravel, cracking branches. I’m wearing pretty bright clothing. So, all of those things are indications if your eyes were up, you’d probably be able to see me, and if your ears were open you’d be able to hear me. So, that’s definitely the first step to protecting yourself - is being aware of what’s happening around you,” said James.

“And I didn’t even think to scream for help or anything. I was - I think I was holding my breath,” said KIMA Reporter Tristan Balagtas.

“You certainly need to have that intention of making a very, very loud noise, yelling for help, yelling stop, making sure that you attract as much attention as you possibly can,” said James.

He showed me how to defend myself if a real-life situation like this were to ever happen.

“If you’re grabbed from behind, like so, one of the things that you wanna make sure of, as I lift you, you wanna drop your weight. Now - drop your weight. Now, clasp your hands together, drive your elbows up, step around me. Now, bring your head back. Push me away. Yell stop,” said James.

A few attempts at what James is teaching me and I feel like I’ve got a basic understanding of how to try to protect myself from being taken advantage of, but what if an attacker tries a different approach?

[In a simulation, James grabs me by the wrist and drags me to the ground.]

“So, the first thing you did - you looked down. You look down, your head goes down. You look down, your body goes down. It’s all a bad situation. So, you always want to keep your eyes going towards your opponent,” said James.

He calls this a ‘Y’ break, and it's useful if an attacker has you by the wrist and is trying to pull you in their direction.

“So, if I move this way, you gotta keep your eyes up. Now that hands going to lift. And that is going to shove forwards hard. Now push me away - there. Now, don’t just grab. Break and then run,” instructed James.

While I don't know if these techniques would really work, it's worth a shot, because you never know when it might come in handy. James also left me with a lot of advice that may sound like common sense, but people make these mistakes, on a daily basis.

“Definitely never jog alone. Headphones are a no-no. Only go during certain times of the day, be totally aware of all your surroundings, and James definitely taught me a lot of useful moves to get yourself out of scary situations and to protect yourself from being assaulted,” said Balagtas.

James Robinson is an instructor at the Yakima School of Karate. Robinson says YSK is a family environment, welcoming all ages and abilities, and has served the Yakima Valley since 1961. For more information, check them out on Facebook and Instagram, or at

*James wants to remind viewers that all of the techniques we worked on are only useful if you practice them appropriately under supervision of a trained instructor.

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