The Scrub Shop sponsors self-defense Empower Hour

Published 10:55 am Tuesday, August 1, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The Scrub Shop in Clanton hosted a Damsel in Defense Empower Hour on July 29.

Owner Erin Mahan said safety is important for healthcare professionals because many work odds hours and are walking to their cars at night.

“You have to protect yourself, so I thought this (Damsel in Defense) might be a good fit with health care, and especially because health care (personnel) is mostly women,” Mahan said.

She said even though “Chilton County is a real safe place” with a low crime rate, women still need to be prepared if something happens.

“They just have some really neat things that are necessary for today‚Äôs world,” Mahan said.

Mary Griffith, who is also a retired police officer, presented the Empower Hour at The Scrub Shop.

“My primary service when I retired was working with sex offenders,” Griffith said. “So, that gave me a chance to talk to them as well as their victims.”

The offenders told Griffith they chose victims who “had a ponytail and her face was in her phone. She never looked me in the eye … she can’t identify me.”

Part of Griffith’s hope in holding Empower Hours is to help women be more aware as they walk.

“There is nothing so important on that phone that you can’t wait until you get to your car,” Griffith said.

She said looking people in the eye and saying hello when walking can keep one from becoming a victim.

Damsel in Defense was started by two women who wanted to defend themselves, but they felt uncomfortable carrying a firearm.

Defense products range from pepper spray to products that protect valuables or conceal firearms. Griffith said pepper spray is more effective than mace because it is an irritant and does not go away.

“It works on four legged monsters as well as two legged monsters,” Griffith said.

Stun guns built into other items, such as a flashlight or camera, are also available.

Griffith said a stun gun is better than a Taser because most people cannot accurately aim the Taser for both hooks to go in. To use a stun gun, the attacker has to be closer. However, Griffith said just the sound from farther away has been enough to get people to move.

The products “will not turn my customers into victims,” Griffith said. Each of the stun guns must have the pin in place to activate.

“So, if it is taken away from you in a fight it can’t be used against you,” Griffith said.

Stun guns and the Kubotan, a jabbing impact weapon, are used to get close attackers away. Griffith said the Kubotan should be aimed at a soft part of the body or a major nerve grouping to stop the attack.

“The Kubotan, even though it is lightweight aluminum, adds ten times to the power of your punch,” Griffith said.

Other items are designed simply to scare a perpetrator with noise. Griffith said the keychain device that has a siren sound is helpful for when her grandsons go into a public restroom by themselves, so they can alert her to any trouble.

Damsel in Defense also supports women’s safety through nonprofit giving to organizations that help victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Donations to an organization in Cambodia fund a one-year program for women who have been rescued from trafficking.

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