Today on the show, I have Kate Leach on with me and she’s going to talk to us about how we can protect ourselves as women. She helps teach tips and skills and tools for how women can stay safe. So welcome Kate to the podcast today.
Thank you so much for having me, Jen.
Can you take a minute and introduce yourself?
Sure. So I am a mom of seven and four of them are daughters and I’ve really wanted to teach my girls how to protect themselves in this world and went through a lot of different programs and you know, things like that to kind of, I just wanted them to be equipped and empowered no matter what came along. But it really wasn’t until a few years ago that I found kind of how I really wanted them to go about that equipping and being educated. They’ve grown women now and it’s become my passion to help other moms protect themselves, but also protect their families and make sure that their children know how to protect themselves.
Great. So a lot of people listening are single moms, so I feel like this is like a really great thing to talk about. So what kind of tips do you have for us? Especially as single parents, you know, we as single moms are taking care of a house by ourselves and with kids in it, and we’re really the only ones here, especially at night. It can be a daunting thing.
Absolutely. Yeah. So, so I wanted to kind of start with like some, some things that, you know, probably most of our moms tried to teach us like about situational awareness. In the world that we live in, we get so caught up in things like what we’re doing or our phones. If we’re not in a bad neighborhood, we might feel like you don’t need to be worried about it. But that’s really not true anymore. That, you know, even in the daytime, in a good neighborhood or in front of a movie theater, you know, all kinds of places where our children are being assaulted and, and women are being assaulted. So we, we need to kind of bring back situational awareness. And it’s not about paranoia or fear-mongering at all. It’s more about empowering ourselves to always have a plan and to teach our children what our plan is and admitting it is a violent world, but not, not in such a way that like we’re running around scared, but quite the opposite really.
So you know, one thing now, right now we’re mostly at home. So with being at home, we want to make sure that in our homes even and when we’re, you know, hopefully, most of us are getting fresh air and going for walks and that sort of thing, but the people that are on the streets now some of them are just like us out to get fresh air, but some of them aren’t. So we want to be really just step up our situational awareness inside and outside the home. At nighttime, that’s going to include something like a flashlight. Just stick a flashlight in your purse. We all have one somewhere in a house, right? And you want a flashlight in your purse. And even if it makes you feel kind of like nerdy to be pulling that flashlight out at night, just do it.
Just do it. Make it a habit out of it. Because what it does, it tells the world is that you’re aware of what’s going on around you and it tells them that you’re not an easy mark. And so you would, you know, you, here’s your flashlight, you walk to your car, do a quick sweep under your car. You know, I’m not saying get down on your hands and knees. I’m just saying, do a quick sweep into your car. Flash that light into the back seat before you get in. Simple things like that, that might seem paranoid, but in the day and age we’re living in could really save yours and your children’s lives. Again, the same thing would be in the home, making sure everybody has a flashlight, maybe on their nightstand, that sort of thing. Just for that. The feeling that being able to see in the dark can give you, we don’t know what’s going to happen.
You know, the power does go out here and there and in the odd situation we’re living in, you know, it feels like that is even unsteady right now. A little bit. So a simple thing like a flashlight can be a really great tool. The other thing a flashlight can do is it can be a force multiplier. So if you think about your child or yourself trying to say defend yourself against a man who’s bigger and stronger than you, and if you try to punch them, there’s a good chance they’re gonna laugh at you and it’s certainly not going to slow them down. However, if you have a flashlight in your hand, flashlights are pretty sturdy, right? If you use that, it multiplies your force. Just clench it in your hand, go for, you know, eyes, nose, middle of the body, that sort of thing.
All of a sudden you are stronger. Something like that. But something we all have in our house right now as a flashlight that we can just make that a part of our daily safety, personal protection there. Okay. So situational awareness, wherever you include just being aware and teaching our kids to be aware of, keep their heads up, keep their shoulders back, move with intention, you know, like you know what you’re doing. Even if you’re having a down day, don’t let it show on the outside when you’re out in public. We all have, you know, like a God-given thing in us that that alarms us when something is off or wrong. It’s like our fear system. And as women, we’ve kind of been taught to ignore that too.
And we tell ourselves, I’m just being paranoid or I’m sure it’s nothing. And a lot of the time, you know, that’s true. It probably is nothing some of the time. But over all, you need to trust that fear, instinct and intuition. If you are feeling like something’s off, something’s wrong, something’s creepy, there’s a good chance that it actually is. And so don’t immediately, don’t allow yourself to immediately discount that. But just be a little more aware. Look around. Oftentimes when we look around our eyes, we’ll land on the thing that is out of place or odd. And that’s, that’s the thing to be aware of. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s danger, but it does mean pillow. More attention, know what’s going on. You know, if you think somebody is following you, you can like divert your path and see if they stay with you when you go, not direction.
So just like little tips of being situationally aware teaching our kids the same things, trusting ourselves more maybe than we’ve been taught to. These are all things that can just help us keep our head in the game and be very aware of what’s going around and knowing what we want to do if something does go the wrong way. Another super easy thing that most of us have probably you may have to dig through the toy box is a whistle. Okay. Keeping a whistle again, handy, you know, in your purse, in your kitchen drawer, those sort of things. We’ve all heard the devastatingly sad stories about somebody yelling for help with their voice and being ignored. It sounds so crazy. And most of us think, Oh, that wouldn’t happen in my town. And you know, hopefully we’re right. But the thing is, when you use something like a whistle or a personal alarm, it’s a different noise.
It’s a weird noise and you’re going to get eyes. And what an assailant does not want or an intruder does not want is attention. So, and the other thing that can happen when you’re in a really bad situation is we can actually lose our voices, which is that fear overcomes us. And so having something to be a noisemaker, I carry a personal alarm my purse you know, I sell some personal alarms also, and there’s one made for boys and one made for girls and they just like go on their belt loops. And I tell my grandsons, yeah, you can ride your bike down the street, but if you get that feeling, if somebody is following you or bothering you or trying to talk to you and you know they shouldn’t be just set off that personal alarm, just the noise itself is enough to stop something bad from happening. I’m not saying always, but quite frequently. That can be a really great deterrent.
What age do you start to tell your kids without also scaring them?
Right. A really good question. Early on, you know, maybe like four or five as soon as you start letting them like wander past your eyesight a little bit is a good point to start. They already know. Most of our kids, even at four or five, know that there’s, there are bad people in the world and to be aware and be careful and so to start equipping them with things, with ideas like you do know that if you hit somebody with a flashlight, you’re going to hurt them a lot more than if you hit them with your fist. Just like a little detail like that. And it could be a part of the training. And that’s why you never use anything to hit your brother, you know, that sort of thing.
But letting them know, just, just little tips that you tell them kind of like, isn’t that so interesting? Let’s try it. Let’s hit this pillow with our fist and then let’s hit this pillow with the flashlight and see the difference of how you feel. So it kind of just eclipse them with some ideas in their head without it being scary, more like it’s a game. And that can be a really good way to go. Having a personal alarm next to their flashlight at their nightstand, which, you know, this would be probably a little older, maybe like seven or eight, where they won’t just set it off because they had a bad dream or something, you know? But just letting them know if anything happens and you really need me in the middle of the night and you can’t get to me, just set this off and I’ll be right there.
So you’re not telling them if somebody climbs into your window or the things that we’re actually thinking, you know, but just like this is like your little safety thing. And again, like having my grandsons keep them on their belt loops when they go outside of my range, it makes them feel really good and empowered and like this is us. You know,, they feel like they know what to do. My grandsons adore telling their friends about how their grandma sells personal protection. And do you guys know that? My, my grandma has a stun gun and you know, they just, they think it’s really amazing and they, they love it because they know what it’s about, but not in a scary way.
Okay. So more from an overcoming point of view and empowerment versus a scared point of view.
Absolutely. Yeah. Our kids are going through enough without adding fear to it. Along the same lines, we have a really good set of books out called Heart Defenders. And the heart behind the Heart Defenders series is again, coming down to lead trusting their intuition, teaching children that if something feels off to them, they need to trust that they can keep their bodies safe when they learn to trust their hearts. And even if they make some wrong choices, the worst that’s going to happen is they hurt somebody’s feelings that that’s so worth saving their, their little lives and the things that they go through.
Yeah. And one of the things I’ve always told my daughter as, you know, going along with what you’re saying about hurting someone’s feelings, she’s a teenager now. I tell her like when she’s out walking to not make eye contact with people who are like sitting, you know, like on the side or something because I just always felt like that invites a conversation with somebody or invite somebody in. You know, I mean I often it’s good to be aware that someone’s there and you know, look around but making eye conversation or I’m sorry eye contact. I always feel like that’s an invitation to somebody. So I always tell her like, don’t make that direct eye contact, you know? Because she often is like, well, why are they coming up to me? Or why are they talking to me? Or he keeps staring at me. I’m like, you know, I always tell her to try to avoid that as much as possible. I’m like, it might hurt his feelings, but who cares.
That’s right. She’s worth so much more than somebody’s feelings. Yeah. Along that line, that’s interesting that you brought that up and I agree with you totally. For our children, but a tip for ourselves as grown women is if there is somebody that’s making you uncomfortable, it is actually better to look him straight in the eyes and kind of like let them know you’re aware. You see him and he’s not to mess with you. Its kind of like You’re not scared you’re, you’re being, you know, you’re not smiling at him, but this is somebody that’s making you uncomfortable. You just going to give him a look and let him know, I see you. I could describe to you, you know, that sort of thing. And so that, that can be another, like just little tool in our, in our toolbox to keep safe is that it’s, it’s along those lines of being confident or looking confident and letting the world know, we know what’s going on around us and we have, I had this up and you know, I see you if it’s somebody that’s making you uncomfortable. But I agree with children that they don’t want to do that because their walls aren’t as up as ours are and they are mostly friendly little souls that adults can kind of suck in and ways that we don’t want them to be sucked in.
But trusting our children to really tune into their hearts and be willing to do hard things like tell mom or whoever is a safe adult in their life when something really feels bad is just so important. And then always, always, you know listening to our children, when they do tell us maybe something that’s hard to hear or that we don’t want to believe. It’s just so important that they know that they can come to us with whatever it is after we’ve told them, you know, that they need to be very aware of how they’re feeling in that. That’s their kind of God-given protection system is how they feel inside. And if their heart feels bad, there’s a really good chance their bodies are in danger. And that just, you know, explaining that that’s your little personal alarm system that is implanted inside of you and it’s not there to be scared of the world. It’s there to use and get help when you need it.
So what would you say for single moms who we kind of feel a little defenseless sometimes when we don’t have anyone else at home for us and we’re taking care of children at home. I know me personally, at one time I had a home alarm and I just, I personally didn’t feel like that was doing much for me. The few times it went off and you know, it would be 30 minutes before the police came and it was a false alarm anyway. But and then I ended up getting a guard dog and now I feel much safer. But what tips do you have in those instances?
So especially now with what we’re going through staging our homes for personal protection is super important. And you know, you can think through places where you spend a lot of time. So I’ll just give you some examples. In my kitchen drawer and like my junk drawer in my kitchen, I have a stun gun. It’s charged only myself and my family members know it’s there. We all know how to use it. In my medicine cabinet in my bathroom, I have pepper spray. Again, we only know, we only know it’s there and the intruder would never, ever know that there’s like these things stationed around my house by the front door.
Well, I have several doors in the house that I live in, but some of them on the door jam, like right above the door, I keep a coup Baton, which is again is like a skinny striking for small supplying. Like I was talking about the flashlight, but this is just a smaller one that can go on you know, above the door jam. So it’s something I can grab down easily. You know, of course, you don’t want to open your door unless you really feel it’s safe. But even then, you know, there’s the situations of somebody, you know, in a uniform comes or all the crazy things that can happen. Just having that in your hand and knowing that you have a little something or again, a personal alarm there, something like that. So staging our homes by, besides my bed, I keep a, it’s called a striking distance, a stun wand that it’s, it’s kind of long, it’s over a foot long and it’s a stands on all, like all sides of it.
So if somebody tries to grab it away from you, they’re getting stunned the second they touch it. We used to always keep a baseball bat by our bed. Well, you know, to me that’s, I don’t know how well I would really use that, but something like a stun wand. It’s amazing how like comforting that is to me to have that right there. I know it couldn’t be taken away from me because somebody who tried to touch it would go down and I would have plenty of time, you know, to get my kids and get out. A lot of times like self-defense, people, teachers, gurus are teaching you to know, how to do like the cool and be stronger than your assailant, that sort of thing. That’s not what I’m into because I want to teach women and children to find ways to protect ourselves, to give us the time to get away.
That’s, that’s what I’m looking for. So things like stun guns and pepper sprays, they’re not lethal, but they do disable an assailant long enough, you know, usually for like an hour, like stun guns, paralyzed muscles and pepper sprays actually make them blind for an hour, you know, so there are these, these ways of not being lethal but giving you plenty of time to get away, get safe, call law enforcement, that sort of thing. So one of the best ways I think for, for feeling safe in the home and feel like your children feel safe in the home, is that staging the home. You know, you couldn’t get a pepper spray and a stun gun to hang on the outside of your purse. And that’s great for when you’re out and about. But are you really going to remember every night to bring it up and have it beside your bed?
So having different tools and thinking through them. And again, you know, flashlights and whistles, if you can’t afford to buy anything right now, at least dig those up and have them placed strategically around your house. Teach them why you like them to your kids and what, what good they could do with them. And but if you can’t afford to get some really, you know, good tools, this is a really great time to do it. And then think through, where do I spend time? You know, like I was talking about, I spend time in my kitchen, I spend time in my bathroom, you know, places like that where somebody could catch you on unawares. There are also things like a single window or door jam alarms that kind of look like a doorstop. But if that door moves, the alarm going to go off. So that’s kind of a way to, if you have, you know, say you feel really good about all your doors, but I know for me I have one door that’s kind of like, I feel like anybody could break through it so quickly, you know, it’s all, it’s basically glass with a wood-frame, you know, and that door doesn’t make me feel safe. So I like keeping the single door jam alarm right there, that if it’s even jiggled when I have it set, you know, it’s going to give me that time to know, okay, something’s going on.
Those are all great ideas and some of them I hadn’t heard of, so that’s great. So is there anything else you’d like to any other tips that you’d like to give?
Again, it’s about learning to trust ourselves. It’s not about being afraid, but a lot of us put off something like this, like investing in something like personal protection because we’re not in danger at the moment, like we pretty much are never in danger right then when we’re thinking about it, and then when something happens, either to ourselves or somebody close to us, all of a sudden then we want, okay, I need to get equipped, but it’s so much better to do all of this before it’s too late.
And if anybody does, you know, invest in some of these tools. It does. You are no good to own them. You have to get them out of the box. You have to hold them things like a stun gun or a pepper spray or even your whistle or personal alarm, that sort of thing. You got to practice with these things, how they feel in your hand. Do some muscle memory, some brain memory. Work with them. Think through the situations. Okay, how would I use a stun gun? You know, how, what would I do? You know, do I use my thumb or my fourth finger to do a pepper spray? Just little things like that. Where would I, you know, aim the pepper spray at little things like that where you really have thought through and you know your tools and you know exactly what you would do with them, the ones that you feel comfortable teaching your children, you’ve taught them exactly what to do with them.
I host workshops in-person and online right now only online of course, where I go through this kind of using your tools, being so comfortable with them because really, you know, I run into so many women that, Oh yeah, I have a pepper spray in and like where is it? Oh, somewhere at the bottom of my purse. That’s a complete waste of money. Nobody’s going to give you time to dig through your purse to find it. You always want to know exactly where your tool is and exactly how you would use it. You know, pepper sprays come with a safety. So if all you did was buy a pepper spray, throw it in your purse. Let’s say you are lucky enough to grab it out in time, but you don’t know how to turn off the safety. Little things like that where it’s just, it’s not good enough to buy them.
You have to know how to use them and become comfortable with them and help your children to become comfortable with whatever, you know, parts of these you feel good about like as talking about the flashlight, just practice how you would hit somebody with a flashlight. You know, it’s just little things like that where owning is never enough. You have to almost like love it if that makes sense.
Yeah, it totally does. That’s a great point. So where can people find you and your workshops and everything?
So I do have a Facebook group called Armed and Beautiful. It’s not entirely on personal protection. We do some other inspirational and encouraging things there. But I’ll, I do a lot of live videos where I just talk about different aspects of personal protection and situations. I’ll go through different, you know, one tool at a time sort of thing.
So I’d love to have anybody join that armed and beautiful Facebook group. And then I can also have you put the link to my actual store where I do sell these products. Mostly though, because I much prefer to talk to you about the products before you buy one. I would love to do either one-on-one or even like a, you know, Facebook live with you and your friends. You can do them in messenger or create a group just for that. You know, it doesn’t have to be a big thing, but where I can go on there and teach you how to use each tool. And a lot of times as women are watching me go through these things, there’s some tool that sticks out to them. Like that’s I want, that’s, you know, it’s like we all connect differently with different people well, so, so do we with things like tools, it just, something will make sense to them instead of just like looking in a catalog or on a website. So, and you can certainly do that, you know, especially if you have any background in this kind of stuff. But it’s really good. You know, if anybody really is interested, we can just do a one-on-one. You know, like a messenger. You can go live there and see each other and, and I can just show you, you can order something now and then, you know, we can connect with them and I can teach you how to use it.