Damsel in Defense: Company preparing area women to fend off attackersStephanie Perkins is not your typical sales rep.
By: Dain Sullivan, The Dickinson Press
Stephanie Perkins is not your typical sales rep.
Rather than toting around an old-school leather briefcase, the self-defense enthusiast and mother of two wields a pink leopard handbag, which is filled to the brim with gadgets and gizmos that would send nearly any attacker running for the hills.
Perkins is a Damsel in Defense.
“You just can’t be too safe,” she said during Thursday night’s open house, which took place in the basement of American Bank Center off Third Avenue West in Dickinson.
Damsel in Defense, based out of Meridian, Idaho, came to life in October, and now Perkins is one of 175 reps in five states who are making sure women have the pepper spray, stun guns, personal alarms and emergency auto tools necessary to let an attacker know who’s the boss.
“You’re going to Walmart, you’re going out with the girls tonight, you have to have this stuff out because you never know when an attacker is going to come,” she said.
Damsel in Defense goes beyond the traditional kitchen ware gathering or scrapbooking event. Perkins has a knack for personal safety, and she is looking to throw a different kind of party that allows women of all ages to learn more about defense products and techniques.
Mindy Lin, vice president of marketing for the company, said representatives like Perkins wants to equip women not only with the tools necessary to fend off a threat, but also with support from other women who have gained the courage to take a stand.
“We’ve all, at one time or another, found ourselves in a spot where we thought, ‘This probably is not a safe situation right now,’” Lin said. “It’s just a matter of having something that, if we are ever in that situation, we’d have a way out.”
Lin added that 1-in-6 women will be sexually attacked in their lifetime, and college-aged girls are four times as likely to be targeted. She feels that with more people flooding into the area because of an ongoing oil boom, there is the potential for more crime.
“Unfortunately, in the day we live today, crime isn’t going down,” she said.
But Lin believes women should not invest in a weapon without learning about it first.
“We highly, highly encourage self-defense training,” she said. “This isn’t just buy the product and stick it in your bedside drawer.”
During Damsel in Defense meetings, Perkins runs through situations where certain products would be necessary. If someone decides to buy a product, she makes sure that person is as prepared as possible for a potential attack.
“(Defense products) don’t work at the bottom of your purse,” she said.
Many of the products Perkins deals with are designed to be hidden in plain sight. She has everything from pepper spray secured in an AquaNet can to a perfume bottle that can send out 1 million volts.
“This is my favorite,” Perkins said as she pulled out the “Pack A Punch,” a stun gun resembling a Nintendo Wii remote that is backed up by 7.5 million volts.
A couple other products she sells include the “Call Me Crazy,” which is a stun gun that looks like a pink cell phone, and the “Holla At Me,” a keychain flashlight that is also a personal sound alarm.
Karen Hale of Dickinson is one of the women who attended Thursday’s meeting. She found it to be entertaining, as well as
“I think the products are really interesting,” Hale said. “I teach criminal justice, and so thinking about self-defense and how to protect yourself from crime is always an important topic.”
Marcy Brannen of Dickinson also sat in during the meeting. She enjoyed testing out the products by holding them up in midair.
“Oh, I love the Taser,” Brannen said. “I’m actually going to buy one for my friend” in Atlanta.
Perkins can personally attest to the importance of owning self-defense items, adding that her husband is out of town approximately 75 percent of the time. Her products have given her peace of mind, and she is not afraid to crack a joke or two when she is discussing safety.
“I have a lot of volts of electricity in my house,” she said. “I’ve got my boys very well-behaved.”
The next Damsel in Defense presentation, which is “free to any adult,” will be given Feb. 26 at the gym in Beach High School, Perkins said. She added that a self-defense instructor and police will be present to provide defense tips to the public. The program runs from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Dickinson Police Department reminds individuals that a concealed weapons permit is required for North Dakota residents with stun guns that are not in plain sight, Sgt. Dan Brown said.
More information on Damsel in Defense can be found by visiting damselindefense.net or calling 701-590-8829.