MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The headlines seem hopeless. Over the past year in Memphis, 329 rapes were reported and dozens of more victims have been scared silent.
Anyone can become a victim of a violent sex crime, but the real danger may not be a man hiding in the shadows. Most sexual assaults are committed by an intimate partner, friend, family member or acquaintance. But, you don't have to live in fear.
We are arming you with the power to fight back. When all else fails, one last move could stop an assault from becoming a sexual assault.
Chad Chilcutt teaches Gracie Jiu-Jitsu at Chilcutt's Memphis Martial Arts.
"We have a strong backing of what we're doing," Chilcutt said. "It works. It's been proven."
Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a self-defense technique that works on opponents much larger than yourself.
Chilcutt demonstrated a few scenarios and moves you can use to protect yourself and your family, and potentially ward off an attacker.
When you start to feel a confrontation coming on with another person, put your hands up by your chest, like you're washing or praying, with one leg in front of the other, Chilcutt said.
"So if the punch comes, you're ready to block," Chilcutt said. "Your eyes stay on them. Do not turn your head," he explained.
If an attacker tries to hit at you, remember to use the "wax on, wax off" motion with your hands to try and block them.
If someone tries to choke you, Chilcutt says to tilt your head down and shrug your shoulders as much as possible. Doing so helps to enlarge your neck muscles and gives you more room to breathe.
If an attacker's hands are on your neck, grab their wrists and take two of their fingers. Pull them back and try to break them.
If you find yourself thrown on the ground, Chilcutt says it actually gives you more leverage to be on the bottom, to "trap, bridge, and row."
"Bridge your hips up," Chilcutt said. "That creates the movement from the mount. That's when you start to move somebody."
This will force the attacker to fall forward and let go.
Then move your left foot to trap their right foot, lift your hips more and start rolling your body to the left, rolling the attacker over to the bottom so you are now on top. Kick, scream, punch, and run away.
"I'm trying to choke you, so you're going to cross them (your arms) and hold my wrists and pull your elbows down," Chilcutt said. "Then, your feet go slowly up to my hips, and then up to my shoulders. Then, you cross your legs behind my neck, and now I'm all yours. Now it's changed. I'm trapped. Then, you're going to squeeze your knees (together) and lift your hips up slowly. You'll break both of my arms."
These moves are a lot to remember and take practice, but just one of them could make all the difference.
"You learn to be in a bad situation or nervous situation, but learn to be relaxed so you can think to outsmart them," Chilcutt said.
Chilcutt is offering a free community event for all women ages 13 and up, covering real life, last-minute street self-defense. WMC Action News 5's Kendall Kirkham will be there. Signing up beforehand is encouraged to guarantee a spot.