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IN BRIEF

Nonfiction

March 05, 1995|ERIKA TAYLOR

DEFENDING OURSELVES: A Guide to Prevention, Self-defense, and Recovery From Rape by Rosalind Wiseman (Noonday Press: $10; 188 pp.). If you are sexually assaulted, you do not have to passively submit to your attacker's demands. This seems to be one of the basic messages of "Defending Ourselves," Rosalind Wiseman's informative guide to virtually every aspect of rape. Wiseman, who has a black belt in karate, strongly advocates learning some basic self-defense maneuvers, which are outlined and illustrated clearly. Perhaps even more important, she details various verbal and body language skills that may ward off a potential attacker.

Keeping all this in mind, it's not completely clear exactly whom this book will serve. For women who have already been raped, large portions of Wiseman's information are irrelevant since it deals with the reporting process, the decision whether or not to press charges and an exhaustive list of sexual assault crisis centers in the United States. Of the women who have never been assaulted, many may resist Wiseman's book due to denial about the possibility of it happening to them, or to the feeling that if they are attacked there is very little they can do. Perhaps, "Defending Ourselves" will be most helpful to women who have almost been raped and would like to be better prepared. In any case, this is a well-organized, empowering look at a frightening subject.

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