I have never been afraid to call myself a feminist. In fact, I thought it was odd that women steered clear of the word with such vehemence. As of late, however, I have been contemplating the word within the context of today’s cultural and social atmosphere.
The #MeToo Movement has brought upheaval within the nation by bringing to light injustices that many women have experienced. It has also brought about much conversation. There was a good four months where you could not go anywhere or speak to anyone without the topic or a new accusation being discussed.
It was during one of those conversations that a good friend of mine called me a victim-blamer. I was making the point that a great way for women to find strength from this movement is to be proactive in setting boundaries and knowing that you can protect yourself if needed. These are two simple tenants that are discussed in any good martial arts school. I told my friend that if more women clearly stated their boundaries and had the skills to defend themselves, then most likely, many negative situations would be prevented.
I have been practicing martial arts for 5 years, and during that time the above has been instilled within me. I have no issue stating my boundaries, and I know that I have the knowledge and skills to defend myself if a situation were to reach that point.
Jiu jitsu has been used to prevent assault. In 2015, a woman in the UK was able to successfully defend herself with a triangle choke. By no means am I saying that it is fool-proof, but it has the potential to keep many from being harmed. For some reason, however, stating this made me into the type of person that blames women for being assaulted. I find this to be odd because I recognize how traumatic such an experience can be, and that certain situations can pose their unique challenges.
If something can be prevented, however, how is that a negative thing?
In today’s climate, it seems as though, people remain too steadfast in their own beliefs making any other point automatically negative. For me, setting boundaries and learning self-defense seems like a natural way to keep oneself safe. This was even the topic of the first video I uploaded to my YouTube channel. I also know women who have attended free self-defense classes. Even if a martial arts school is too expensive or simply not your thing, there is still a way to learn these critical skills.
This is something that has been on my mind for a while now, and that I wanted to share to gain some insight from all of you. Have you ever been called a victim-blamer? How do you feel about self-defense or martial arts for prevention?