Woman who fought attacker begs others to empower themselves

SEATTLE -- We end Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, so right now is prime time for women to empower themselves as our days grow shorter.

Women will be forced into darkness to run errands after work and pick up the kids from activities. Tracy Muter found herself in a scary situation after dark one evening, face-to-face with a purse snatcher.

But Muter, her daughter and her friend Heather fought off the man trying to steal Heather's purse.

"It was pretty scary," Muter said.

They won, but that fear forced Tracy to take action with a self-defense class.

One thing led to another and now months later, she's still working out, learning new skills, still building confidence.

"There's still a little bit of fear wondering," she said. "Like I wonder if there's anybody watching me, but I'm not as fearful as I was 6 months ago."

Personal trainer Lyam White says building strength generally builds confidence.

"Being aware has a lot to do with being upright, being awake, having a high level of energy, you know a sense of physical preparedness," White said.

Being prepared is how to reach the only goal in a real self-defense situation: Get away as fast as you can.

To gain the time needed to run, learn how to go for your attacker's most vulnerable areas: The eyes, throat, groin, knees and feet.

"I think I have a little more self-confidence when I'm walking in a parking lot," Muter said. "Before I was almost panicked and I didn't want to be a in a parking lot alone. And now, I'm like, well okay I can do this."

Research shows women empowered through self-defense training face a significantly reduced risk of unwanted sexual contact. The University of Oregon study put one group of women through a 10 week self-defense program and followed them for a period afterward. They found that just 12 percent of women who took the self-defense program, reported sexual intrusion later. About 30 percent of the control group however, with no training, reported unwanted sexual contact.

That control group is on par with the national average of one in three college women reporting sexual intrusions.

Muter's working to boost her self-defense skills with yet another class on Saturday. It's a free self-defense workshop offered at MKG Martial Arts in Seattle.

For more information:

MKG Seattle Facebook Page

MKG Seattle Website.