Through her Strategic Living company in Seattle, Joanne Factor teaches girls and women life skills to increase their safety against violence and abuse.

She uses her 20-plus years of experience to share with women how to assess risk, develop a plan, and use back-up skills if needed.

She shares five of her best tips and explains how to choose the right self-defense class for you and your family.

Use your voice

Not only does it draw attention, but your voice startles the attacker, helps you unfreeze, and gives your body more power.

RELATED: Seattle runner who was attacked: ‘My voice was my most powerful weapon’

Be aware of your surroundings

If you see someone paying extra attention to you, give eye contact, but not for long. Brief eye contact lets them know you see them and you are confidence.

Keep fighting

If one skill doesn't work, try something else. Keep going until you can get away.

Use body language

Looking like you are aware and holding your head and shoulders in a way that conveys confidence sends the message that you may give an attacker more trouble.

Take a self-defense class

Tips for choosing a self-defense course:

1. Does the training give you tools that are based in reality? For example, telling you to yell, "Fire" is not grounded in reality.

2. Are they offering tools or making you feel more afraid? Good classes aren't about stirring up fear but about teaching skills that make you feel empowered.

3. Do they victim blame? No one asks to be sexually assaulted.