Self-defense instructor Jeremy Haas says awareness is most important when it comes to protecting yourself from an attacker.
"If you can defeat an attack before it ever happens, you win," said Haas.
Haas says with the holidays upon us, now is the time for women to learn how to protect themselves. He says a would-be attacker loves nothing more than a woman who's all alone and too preoccupied with shopping bags to pay attention to her surroundings.
Authorities say if you think predators are hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce, you're wrong. Haas says most attacks start with a subtle approach. That was the case in downtown Shreveport last December.
"It was a bright sunny day and he made a comment to her. He tried to force her into her car at knifepoint and she made a decision that she wasn't going to go anywhere with him and chose to fight back," said Haas.
Haas says the woman did what everyone should do in that situation. She listened to her gut.
"Everybody I've talked to who has been the person who was attacked said at some point just prior to the attack, they knew something wasn't right, but they ignored it," said Haas.
Authorities say studies have shown in a violent attack such as a carjacking, purse snatching or robbery, the odds of being injured or killed are about five to seven percent if you don't leave with the attacker.
"If you leave, those odds completely flip upside down. The odds of surviving if you leave with a person at gunpoint or knifepoint are five to seven percent," said Haas.
Haas started teaching self-defense to women a year ago after the woman was attacked downtown.
He says his classes aren't meant to teach women how to fight for a knockout, they're meant to teach women how to actively resist until they're able to escape.