Safety Scouts Advice

One of the positive outcomes of my unfortunate incident with a taxi driver was an introduction to Christopher Gadenne.

He’s a former Parisian police investigator who now dedicates all his free time to helping others. In particular, he’s launched the Safety Scouts YouTube channel to increase victim awareness of common attacks or scams.

Here are some of the videos which apply to the most prevalent tourist scams in Paris. (i.e. the fake “deaf person” petition, the bracelet scam at the bottom of the steps to the Sacre-Coeur and the people who “help” you at the Gare du Nord ticket machines.)

Each of the videos is less than a minute long and they are most definitely worth watching.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paris Ladies System Defense

11398_844128462310967_6555135253430964432_n
Paris Ladies System Defense class 16/11/14. Can you spot me…?

Another late night last night and another early start this morning. (Why do I put myself through this again?!) This time, though, I was heading to the rue de Babylone in the 7th for a three-hour women’s self-defence class.

Three hours very well spent. We learnt how to maintain distance from someone and how to execute effective blocking movements with our upper and lower body, in case of attack. We did some situational work (i.e. putting down the pads and pretending we were on the streets for real) and then there was a lawyer who spoke for twenty minutes, advising us of what French law considers to be “legitimate defence” and of the importance of going to the police and porter plainte, as soon as possible after an assault.

The attendees ran the whole gamut of sizes, ages and abilities: from two petite girls (in early teens) who’d come with their mum to a couple of ladies who were fifty plus but could really pack a punch.

What was also really cool was that our instructors were actual policemen who spend their weekends giving these classes empowering women. There was also a kick-ass lady Bénédicte, who, let me put it lightly, well, may Hades have mercy on any man who tries to have his way with her in a dark alleyway.

You can find the upcoming dates on their website or Facebook page. (N.B. Classes are in French but they are pretty easy to follow as the teaching is done through numerous demonstrations.)

It’s also worth watching this video to get an idea of what the class is like and the practical uses of what you learn. (Obviously, we were at a much lower level and limited to women only, but there’s no harm in aspiring to something else, right?)

At 30 euros for the session, it may seem like a fair bit of moolah for something that won’t ever happen to you… but let me say, it was worth every centime and not only that, but I strongly recommend it to any and every woman. Even just having a basic training in self-defence is hugely empowering and it’ll hopefully make me less of a target in the métro and on the streets of Paris. And yes, I’ll be going back for another class next month and in the meantime, much to my (male) housemate’s discomfort, I will keep practicing those defensive jabs to the genitals around the flat.

Afterall…

16367_805227276201086_8761129308552101317_n

This post was not in any way sponsored by the Paris Ladies System Defense. It’s just something I feel very strongly about.