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Protect Yourself: No-Nonsense Self Defense

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A violent crime against a woman occurs every five minutes in the United States.  With such staggering statistics, women need to be prepared to protect themselves.

Gabrielle Rubin, founder of Female Awareness, suggests that every woman take a self defense class.  She joined ABC's Katie Couric in studio to share some basic techniques to keep yourself safe.

Rubin says that women can avoid an attack before it happens by simply being aware of their surroundings. 

At a time when people are tethered to their devices, we are often focused on our phones or wearing headphones, so we are not in tune with our surroundings.  By carrying yourself with confidence -- keeping your hands free and looking people in the eye when they approach you -- you decrease your chances of being a target.

Even while taking precautions, it is good to have safety devices on you.  There are a variety of choices on the market, from the go-to pepper spray or something as simple as a pocket flashlight.

Rubin recommends a kubotan, which is a small hollow baton that can be used to fight off an attacker.  When using the kubotan, aim for bones or sensitive areas on the body like the eyes or throat.

Another safety device that does not even require contact is an alarm.  You can carry this small device on your key chain and can easily trigger a loud sound to attract attention and deter an attacker.

Regardless of your safety device choice, be sure it is always easily accessible and not buried in your bag.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to physically fight off an attacker, Rubin suggests being familiar with at least two strikes -- or self defense moves -- one for the upper body and one for the lower body.

With a few strong moves, you can fight off an attacker twice your size.  In these cases it is important to make strong and quick strikes -- speed is the key to making the strikes effective and increasing your likelihood of getting away unharmed and not becoming a statistic.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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