There is a lot of resistance to the idea of teaching self-defense skills to women – and we get it. It’s a slippery slope. We all know what happens when you give a mouse a cookie, right? Just imagine – if women practice and enact physical and verbal personal safety strategies, if we have the embodied experience of ourselves as strong, confident human beings who are entitled to protect our own physical and psychological integrity, THEN WHAT?
10. Wear pants
8. Speak in public
6. Operate heavy machinery – like a motor vehicle
5. Have a career
4. Claim an education
3. Control their own bodies
2. Prioritize their own sexual desire and agency
And, the #1 thing that women will do if we teach them self-defense, and we just can’t say it any better than Pat Robertson did: “Leave their husbands…practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians”
These are the rights for which feminists have fought, and continue to fight: the right to dress as we like, to speak as we like, to move through the world claiming and participating in all spheres and domains available to men, and the right to live freely, safely, and happily in our own bodies. And that includes the right to self-defense, and to knowing how to protect ourselves. And no one should tell us that we can’t, or shouldn’t have to, have that right.