cover image Fight Back: Arm Yourself with Mental and Physical Self-Defense

Fight Back: Arm Yourself with Mental and Physical Self-Defense

Dominick DiVito, , foreword by Wynonna Judd. . Warner Faith/Center Street, $22.95 (214pp) ISBN 978-1-931722-46-9

According to defensive tactics expert DiVito, the first step in self-defense is being aware of the prevalence of crime: for example, in 2003, for every 1,000 people over age 12, there was one rape or sexual assault, and one assault with injury. Part one of DiVito's empowering book brims with statistics like these, as well as repetitive advice on safety, much of it obvious (though no less useful): listen to your gut, be aware of your surroundings, etc. But sometimes self-defense is the only available exit strategy. Via text and photographs, DiVito explains where to strike (eyes, throat or pelvis), how to strike (using the hammer blow, the shuto strike) and how to use "weapons that don't look like weapons" (eyeliner, high heels). He gives many possible assault scenarios (at home, in a mall parking lot, on campus), also offering tips on disarming an attacker or dealing with domestic violence attacks (the advice is targeted mostly toward women, though some scenarios show male victims). The amount of information can be overwhelming, and readers may struggle to recall much of the counsel in times of stress. Perhaps most useful is DiVito's insistence that confidence is key to survival. (Oct.)