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This article was written by Tania Bhattacharya on behalf of Sherley Altidor.
At least not in the way she is perceived traditionally. Because enough is enough.
Each morning I have to make a conscious choice— should I open Facebook and allow myself to be assaulted by news of rapes and sexual assaults that intersperse my timeline amidst weekend updates and vacation photos. Each morning I have to decide whether I should read about what’s going on in the world and subject myself to the trauma of reading about even five-year-old girls being raped and murdered by neighbors, cousins, or even their dads.
However, each morning I go ahead and read those because pretending everything is all right doesn’t make it all right. Retiring into a personal bubble of happiness isn’t the answer because bubbles pop. Rapes happen. Sexual assault is a reality. And it makes me sad, angry, and scared as a woman and a mother.
Let’s take a look at a few numbers. It will help to add something tangible to our discussion. According to the National Violence Against Women Survey, one in every six US women have experienced either attempted rape or has been raped in their lifetime. According to RAIIN, the country’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone in the US is sexually assaulted every 107 seconds. Are men safe? No. But the most sexually abused people are girls and women especially in the age bracket between 12 and 34 years.
There are two ways to look at the situation when we think of arriving at a solution:
- A) Ask help from the society. Ask men to ‘behave,’ not objectify women, and to appreciate the meaning of consent when having sex.
- B) Blame it on a girl’s attire. Ask her to ‘behave,’ and if something terrible such as a rape happens, blame her again for ‘inviting’ the problem in the first place.
If you ask me, I think that traditionally we have tried both and both have failed miserably. Rapists won’t change and the blame game of accusing the victim is pathetic.
It is high time we think of a third way. Learn self-defense. Be our own protector. Understand that there is no one better than us to take care of ourselves. There is no help like self-help.
While learning self-defense mechanism is an important step towards improving a woman’s security, there are other benefits that we must never overlook. Self-defense mechanisms
1. Improves balances
2. Enhances confidence
3. Develops reflexes
4. Leaves a positive impact
And that is important. Living in a world where rape culture is a globally pervasive phenomenon, learning self-defense is mandatory. Even today when we as women are fighting it out for equal pay, equal rights, and equal respect, it is important that we prepare ourselves. We are not in a competition. We are in a fight. So, please excuse us, ballerinas. You are awesome, but right now, we need ninjas.