Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why Isn't Self Defense Taught in Our Schools?

Author Ellen Snortland has often been in the media advocating for making personal safety and self defense a required class in high schools. Her article One Too Many in the Pasadena Weekly as well as her spotlight on National Public Radio points to the murder of Chelsea King as yet another reason too many to teach kids how to defend themselves.

Yet there's a great reluctance to widely add self defense skills to young people's toolboxes. More emphasis and resources are given over to services once they've become victims, or to enacting laws intended to prosecute and punish offenders (but which sometimes result in unwanted consequences, but that's another post). Both these approaches are critical, but that third leg of prevention is keeping real safety from becoming a reality.

We are the only creatures on this planet that actively strives to dis-empower large segments of our population by not only not teaching basic personal safety, but often by lying about its efficacy.  Once upon a time (about 3 decades ago) conventional wisdom held that women should not fight back lest they get hurt worse.  Studies now show that's not true at all, and in fact over 75% of women who even begin to resist assault chase off their assailant.

Unfortunately, most women don't know that.  And that is truly a crime.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Attention all women looking for a self defense class

Maybe you saw a demo at a health fair or shopping mall about women's self-defense,  and you're considering taking a class.  The group putting on the demo seemed friendly and knowledgeable, and now you're wondering if their program would be a good fit for your needs.  Here's two important keys to watch for.

In many self-defense demos, you see a male instructor as "attacker" and a female instructor as "defender."  So far, so good.  Now, who does the talking?  Is it a male instructor, or female?  Yes, this IS important!  If you are teaching women to strongly face a real-life assailant, she should be the one talking to the women in the audience.

Second, watch carefully for either (or both) of these two things to happen:  the female defender does her moves but in a tentative manner and a male instructor describes her as being "nice" to her attacker," and over the next 10 minutes the demo actors get shifted so a male instructor has taken over showing the moves.

Is this empowering for women?  (Hint: the answer is no.)

I've seen this scenario happen several times now.  I have no doubt that these are very nice and well-meaning people, and their techniques can be effective.  However, until the women show a real lead in their demos I have a hard time believing that the women they are trying to recruit as students will get two of the most essential self-defense lessons.  Which are, of course, to take charge and use your voice.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Researchers Looking for Rape Study Respondents


Dr. Patricia Rozee, a well known rape researcher, and Michelle McKenzie are conducting a research project on examining characteristics of rape resistance strategies in completed and attempted rapes. They hope to document the most effective strategies in preventing future rapes. This research is through California State University, Long Beach. They are looking for women, 18 years old or older, who have experienced rape or attempted rape, to take an anonymous, online survey that takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.




http://www.raperesistance.org/survey.html



Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How Can We Eradicate Rape When It's Not Really Treated as a Crime

Variation of this article are bubbling up here and there.  I'd bet that this story from Boston can be written about almost any college campus in any city, just change the names and titles a bit.

No Crackdown on Assaults at Colleges:  http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/02/25/no_crackdown_on_assaults_at_colleges/?page=full

Or how about this, from National Public Radio?

Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle For Justice:
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124001493&sc=emaf






It's hard enough to get women to report any sexual assault, and it is even more frustrating (and, dare I say, abusive?) when nothing happens.  When the perpetrator gets no more than a slap on the wrist, and the survivor gets the nightmares and therapy.

When it's estimated that 1 of 5 college girls will experience attempted or actual sexual assault during their time in school, it's long past time that schools stopped being complicit in "boys will be boys."


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

But What if He's REALLY TALL?

That's one of the most common question I get in my self-defense classes.  And I think women are very comfortable asking me, as I'm usually the shortest in the room.

Well, here's a story of a 74 year old woman fighting off a young, strapping six footer. 

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/85934442.html

As I've mentioned (over and over), persistence is one of the keys in effective defense.  And Grandma sure had that!