Saturday, October 21, 2006

Women and strength

So the other day a friend of mine posted a blog mentioning something about women taking some responsibility for rape, especially when they don't take any precautions to protect themselves. After giving him a long lecture about why womeon should never be blamed for being raped, regardless of what they were wearing or how flirtatious they were being, I realized that he did indeed have a point. He just wasn't doing a very good job of stating it.

In today's world, women face a lot more dangers physically than men do. We're a lot more likely to get mugged, raped, robbed and abused than our male counterparts. Yet, very few women take it upon themselves to protect themselves. I can't begin to say how many women I've seen go to the gym for the sole goal of losing weight, without any regard for building up some strength. How many women ever seriously undertake a martial arts class, learn to shoot a gun, or pursue some other non-dainty self defense mechanism? As nice as the whole chivalry thing can be, I for one get rather tired of seeking out a male escort to walk me to my car late at night, or avoiding running by myself at certain times and in certain areas. Are taking those extra precautions worth it? And if so, are those who don't take those (or any) precautions at all responsible for anything happening to them?

I guess what I'm getting at is this: when will women start to take responsibility for protecting ourselves instead of waiting around for a man to do so? And to what extent (if any) should we have to?


Moshe said...

But Amanda, tell me how many times knowing martial arts would really help? How many times would it really help to be just a bit stronger? Perhaps in a case of rape, yes, but many, if not most, of the cases involve some sort of firearm on the attacker. Then you don't have much choice...

Avital said...

Ok, well first of all, martial arts aren't the way to go for defense. The best defensive move? Kick/hit a sensitive area and then run like the dickens. Attacker has a gun? Start running, because it's a lot more difficult to hit a moving target. Never let someone take you without running or fighting.

As for the precautions - I guess I figure better safe than sorry. I try to balance things out - I still run by myself, but I do this in my neighborhood not out in Cedartown when I spend the night there. I generally get someone to walk to my car, unless it is a well lit, well staffed area.

Protecting yourself means being aware. Asking someone to walk you to your car shouldn't make you feel less capable. It should make you feel strong for taking that step to protect yourself.

And Moshe - you always have a choice. It may not be a good one, but as I said above, and I'll say again - never go with the attacker. The minute you make that choice, your odds for survival decrease.

Amanda said...

Moshe's blog made me think of something I left out of the blog: in addition to the big violent crimes, there's also the little things. How to handle yourself with that guy at the bar that just doesn't get the word NO. Or the drunk at the game who tries to pick a fight with you. There's many times that women feel physically threatened when no weapon is present and the threat isn't overt

Bela said...

I know how to shoot a gun. I would say I am quite good at it, but I don't think it'll save me if someone is attacking me, because I don't own a gun - and if I did, I probably wouldn't have it handy during an attack. I agree that the martial arts are a good way to protect yourself, but I like being old fashioned and wanting a guy to protect me. I guess that requires having a guy though.

oh yeah, that was a hint out there to you boys to lay off when girls aren't interested in a bar.

Yusef said...

Well you don't have to take Martial arts. Sometimes they aren't made for women anyway, or weaker women. Martial arts aren't really taken by women that are serious enough at it for it to EVOLE to help them. But it would be nice to have a game plan like Avital. Of course there are a few situations that she missed. Like what if the guy already has you on the ground. What if he's DRUNK or high off something and he doesn't really feel you racking him in the balls. Mace as well. Some things that women are told will help you just piss off a guy to the point that he will beat the shit out of you first...THEN rape you.

It's always nice to be the damsel in distress. And if you FEEL like you look less attractive with martial arts on your resume then you should keep it off. Keep it a secret or something. But you can at least take a small class on rapist psychology or female self defense. Alot of times, understanding a situation helps alot.

You'll never get your dollar a day raise this way LOL. AND I hope you guys really date some strong individuals. If HE doesn't know how to fight and he comes to your rescue...LOL you guys could BOTH get messed up. Then you will have to look for a new man based on the situation. Guys don't want women that get the man's ass kicked. That is a bad liability.

colleen said...

Women have been socialized to fit this image of what a woman should act like just as men have. The "good" guys are apparently gay, a mama's boy or something along those lines. Rape is about power and control and no martial arts class will protect you 100%. I'm fearful of communicating that a self defence class will save you from harm's way, when it reality I've worked with a lot of victims where it's not. 83% of the time the assaults happen by someone you know, friends, boyfriends, classmate, etc. 90% of those cases that happen on a college campus invovle alcohol, with that in mind I'm not sure how you would "fight back" when your motor skills being inhibited.
With all that being said, education is your best weapon. Education about sexual violence, what it is. Education about consent and how it can be obtain and how it can't. Education about coercion and just not being a bystander when someone is acting in an inappropriate ways. Just some thoughts...I write a lot about sexual violence stuff on my site and came across your thoughts.