Monday, November 11, 2013

Self-defense is About Creating Safety for All

A recent anti-violence promotion included the statement: “… if you're promoting changes to women’s behavior to ‘prevent’ rape, you’re really saying ‘make sure he rapes the other girl.’”

This chilling statement could be interpreted to mean self-defense training promotes a callous disregard for the safety of all women. Below IMPACT International Directors argue that self-defense is about creating safety for all women.

Richard Chipping of London Centre for Personal Safety said: “self-defense training is not at all about stopping one women being raped at the expense of another but about enabling women to prevent and stop sexual violence directed at themselves and others. Self-defense helps get offenders stopped and convicted which prevents an even greater number crimes and victims, it is a very powerful pro-social tool.”

Alena Schaim of IMPACT Personal Safety New Mexico says: “I completely agree that we're talking about personal safety & social justice. Ignoring someone calling me an offensive name, for example, is a strategy that many people are encouraged to use by their parents and teachers. However, while ignoring it keeps you temporarily safe (presumably), it may not change the larger culture. We do not always feel up to changing society at large or feel safe to do so, but it is important to acknowledge that these are two different points and which I'm choosing at what time.”

Lisa Scheff of IMPACT Bay Area says "’make sure he rapes the other girl’ is disconnected from reality or fact. To my knowledge no one ever, anywhere, certainly not in the self-defense community, has said ‘I hope someone else gets raped instead.’ That statement seems to come from a deep antipathy not for a culture of victim blaming but specifically for teaching women self-defense.

IMPACT Chicago will run two additional blogs highlighting key points made by IMPACT International Directors about self-defense: self-defense can stop violence for ourselves and others (December) and addressing our own language (January 2014). For an earlier blog quoting IMPACT International directors, see “If She Hadn’t Worn That: Saying No to Blaming Women for Rape,” see, October 21, 2013.

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