At a Family Relations class, my professor mentioned that there would be a self-defense class for women on campus. It was taught by a 4th degree Black Belt and Certified National Women’s Martial Arts Self Defense Association Member. I participated and enjoyed it. Below are some topics covered in the class.
You are Allowed to Use Your Voice
Though we did learn fighting techniques, the instructor emphasized that using your voice is critical.
For an exercise, we were paired up, a person was told to take the position of an attacker coming towards you. We then had to raise our voice, say “No” or “Don’t.” The next thing was to use facial expressions to convey those messages. Understanding that your voice matters in such situations is pivotal. I’ve had experiences where a stranger would approach me. I’d walk away or ignore him. That’s fine but we’re also allowed to use our voice. That’s effective. It’s effective because it calls attention to you. It calls attention to the situation. Don’t be afraid to use your voice.
Awareness: Don’t Be a Fool in Love
The instructor had a stack of flashcards with words such as “good” “bad” annoying” “life-threatening” etc This had to do with reactions to different relationship behaviors that we read from a set of different cards. This exercise revealed how we are not all aware of how some behaviors are warning signs for abuse. For example, your boyfriend or girlfriend wanting to know where you are at all times of the day. Or he or she wanting you to drop anything to be with them. In addition, situations such as their restricting you from visits with family members and friends. A few girls in the workshop thought that those are signs of love but there’s an extent. Those are warning signs of someone who is controlling, manipulative and could potentially be abusive.
Connect with Others
It’s important that we be willing to be open with other people. It can help to be vulnerable and share your experiences. It helps because some are in a situation, living with people who are abusive but are not aware they are in an abusive relationship.
I interviewed a survivor of domestic violence for a project on my college campus. She wasn’t initially aware that her husband was verbally abusive. She thought that was how marriage worked. She kept things to herself. She kept silent until she started sharing her story and seeking counsel.