Why learning self-defense is beneficial:
I will start out by saying the onus should ABSOLUTELY NOT be on women to ensure that we are not harmed by men for existing. We absolutely SHOULD be able to walk about this earth unscathed. We SHOULD be able to enjoy the privilege most cis-men enjoy as they leave the house without thinking to phone a friend to let them know where they were going “in case something should happen.” To walk back to their car without thinking to have a can of mace in one hand and their keys strategically placed between their fingers in the other. Or to not leave the house after dark at all. To make sure they’re not dressed in a way that may provoke “the wrong kind of attention.”
The dialogue where we have to teach women how to not be raped at a higher priority over teaching our sons not to rape is exhausting and places the blame where it doesn’t belong. Perhaps a time will come where we worry about this less. I thought I’d see it in my lifetime, I really did. I don’t know about that now. Hell, we still blame schoolgirls for showing too much skin on their shoulders or legs for boys’ bad behavior. And, worse, we blame girls’ clothing choices for the predatory behavior of grown men. We are woefully distant from where, as a society, we should be.
So in the meantime, being an active participant in your safety isn’t a bad thing, and, if we are able-bodied, it’s not a bad idea at all to consider learning certain skills to deter or fend off an attack.
“Why do you want to live your life like a victim? It really feels like you’re just bashing men.”
To that, here are some statistics from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
•One in five women will be raped at some point in their lives: The statistic for men is one in seventy-one (that’s for your “but men are raped, too!” friends.)
•In the U.S., one in three women and one in six men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
•51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance
•Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
•91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female (9% are male.)
•In eight out of ten cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator
•8% of rapes occur while the victim is at work
•81% of women and 35% of men report significant short- or long-term impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
•Health care is 16% higher for women who were sexually abused as children and 36% higher for women who were physically and sexually abused as children
So no, we aren’t taking a victim mentality. We are simply looking at the numbers, the statistics of what we’re up against – STILL, in this day and age – and we are choosing to fight back if the time comes, either for yourself or for someone lesser abled than you might be in the vicinity. Maybe your children, maybe an aging parent. Maybe just someone nearby who freezes and has no idea what to do. There are classes on Bystander Intervention that teach some really great skills on how to help. It’s a scenario that many of us have never even considered before.
Please note: If you don’t feel like you want to put yourself through, depending on your personal experiences thus far, a potentially triggering and traumatic course of training, then you shouldn’t do so at this time. There’s no shame in that, not everyone is wired for even considering physical confrontation. And that’s completely ok.
But other reasons for taking self-defense, whether it be a simple one-day seminar on evasive tactics or hurling headfirst into a martial arts program are…
- It can help build your confidence.
- It works to improve awareness of your surroundings in any given situation.
- It can improve your physical fitness and balance – increasingly important as you age.
- It can help your focus and discipline, not just with self-defense skills, but in other areas of your life as well.
I hopped online to seek out self-defense classes for women BY women and I was surprised by how little I found. Or how many I thought I found but it turned out that it was, beyond a pink font heading to sell their brand, a male-owned martial arts studios.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been taught self-defense, kickboxing, and other garden-variety MMA classes by men and they have been lovely. And some have been “less lovely” due to the instructor and/or students. I don’t spook easy, but this left a bad taste in my mouth and, as a result, I chose not to go back to that martial arts class. Only recently have I found one that I feel, as a woman, fully welcome in.
I am looking to both focus on female-owned businesses and also provide a comfortable environment for women who prefer not to be in what feels like a submissive state with men, no matter what the intentions are.
I will be, as time goes on, posting options that fall into that criteria for your locality.
UPDATE FOR FERNDALE, WASHINGTON
In the meantime, take a look at community centers and gyms in your community. It doesn’t hurt to look into it.
Here are a few videos on YouTube I found, one that was women-led, and another that was MOSTLY women led and please note, it’s a little ore intense.
And for something totally ridiculous:
“Where…were you…when the girls…came?”