Not sure how this topic fits into "Politics, Religion and Controversies", its more like "Facts of Everyday Life" thing... aniway, here's my take.
First-off, I have been stalked/threatened in the past, during childhood, which was nothing more than that typical insecure bully bluster, and it stopped vhen I confronted the person (one of my school classmates). And vhen I was a teenager I got cornered and raped once, and almost-raped a second time, both times vhen I was 14 yrs old. Add to that the fact I had a rather dysfunctional family (not going into details), and the overly lax laws here in Croatia regarding stalking/harassment. The bastard vho raped me was never realy punished, he got out after a month with a moderate monetary fine... wel, at least he wasnt until I myself punished him for vhat he did to me, couple years later when I had some fighting experience. One good thing about lax laws - it goes both ways; you can prety much beat the shit out of someone here, and get away vith a police report plus maybe a week or 2 in the pen, less if you'r underage, as long as you dont cause permanent damage or kill them. Here in Croatia, it pays to be the "take care of yoursef" type.
I learned to rely on myself to protect myself, and be ruthless in fighting back vhen necessary. It motivated me (understatement) to take up martial arts, and not just part-time, I used to practice the forms daily, regulary, few hours each day, for the first couple years, it even interfered with my school on many ocassions, I was that determined to learn properly, and learn how to apply them in a real fight situation, visiting the local fight-clubs and gyms regularly to find good sparring partners and learn to deal with the fear accompanying the fight. Its not just knowing how to fight, its having the right mindset for it, controlling your fear, and developing a measure of resilience against pain thru real sparring. I had more than a couple visits to the ambulance as a result, belive me, for varius cuts and bruises. But it was worth it.
Now to digress a litle, and adress the comment about how "self-defence shuld not be relied upon, and that most martial arts are a scam". I categoricaly disagree. What most ppl dont realize, is that learning a martial art isnt something that can be done part-time, as a "sideline" or from a sub-standard teacher (I was lucky to enroll in a school vhich was led by a real-deal MA expert with over 20 years experience). Or worse, vithout ever actually learning how to use it (thru sparring). It is a lifelong, involved process, which also necessitates fitness, workout regimens, muscle/core development (and not so much because of attack power, because of staying power, to make you resist body-blows better), and psychologicaly defeating your innate fear of injury. I practice a mix of Wing Chun and Wushu (2 forms in Kung Fu) for over a dozen years by now, I have my own part-time MA school for the last 3 years (nice suplemental income) and a small class of more or less regular students. But I know I myself still have a lot to learn to really master the art. I am skilled enogh to teach others, and to be able to protect myself effectively, against most people, including many "hardened" beefy bruiser types. But even so, every day I learn something new, or reaffirm something I already knov to a deeper level. It is said that a person learns as long as they'r alive. And its true. Mastering martial arts is no diferent. So yes, for someone who is just in that part-time, for a few months, I definitly would agree, that it is not a reliable method of protection, and that they should get some kind of weapon (assuming your country's laws alow you to actualy carry a concealed weapon in public - Croatia does not). Takes at least a couple years of regular, dedicated training, and conditioning to be able to efectively aply it in a real-life situation with a reasonable degree of sucess, and be sure enough of yourself and your abilitys to do so. And that is a bare minimum. And even then, knowing the technique is just half of it. Willingnes to aply it to "not pull any punches" in a fight is the other half. And that is vhere many people falter, either because of hesitation or fear of legal consequences. When you'r seriusly attacked, and you decide to fight instead of run - then fight to the limit, the best of your ability, and dont hesitate to hurt your attacker(s) as badly as necesary to get them to stop. Half-measures wil get you nowhere. And if you'r not 100% sure of your abilities - run, if you have the option.