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Monday, April 11, 2011

Our Bodies Are Not the Scene of the Crime


Society is the Crime Scene When a woman or girl reports a sexual assault, her body becomes the scene of a crime. She not only experiences the trauma of sexual assault, but her body becomes a source of forensic evidence, a location to be scrutinized, and a focal point for the crime itself. A woman’s body is no longer her own, but a crime scene. Imagine if, instead, we mark the crime scene as the society where women and girls are held responsible for violence they experience and yet are discouraged from learning how to defend themselves against violence.
Self-Defense Training Makes a Difference Every two minutes someone is assaulted, almost half of sexual assault victims are under 18, the majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the person attacked, and only 1 out of 16 rapists spend time in jail. Women and girls who complete self-defense training report increased self-confidence and awareness as well as acquisition of a wide range of verbal and physical self-defense skills applicable to many real-life situations. A woman who fights back gains an 86% chance of avoiding the rape and incurs little chance of additional injury.
Our Bodies Are Worth Defending IMPACT Chicago Self-Defense for Women says NO to marking women’s bodies as crime scenes. While we work to change society so that it is no longer acceptable for rape to exist and perpetrators to walk free, we say YES to providing women and girls the tools to maximize their personal safety and assertiveness and to creating avenues for women’s and girls’ voices to become part of a comprehensive effort to prevent sexual assault and other acts of interpersonal violence and boundary violations. Cassandra of Chicago says: "After serving in the military for six years, deploying to Afghanistan, and surviving sexual assault, IMPACT gave me the tools to feel self-confident, in control of my body, and the self-assurance to say NO!"
In IMPACT participants learn self-defense tools in a space where the violence women and girls experience is acknowledged, where it is understood that each woman and girl has done the best she could with the tools she had, and where women and girls are encircled with compassion and support. For information about upcoming IMPACT programs, go to www.IMPACTchicago.org. For reasons to take an IMPACT course, check out Amy Voege’s March 27 blog: “Four reasons to take an IMPACT course."
Martha Thompson Director and Instructor IMPACT Chicago



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