The Importance of Self Defence


The Importance of Self-Defense


One in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime according to Unite To End Violence Against Women, a UN Secretary-General’s Campaign.  Between the ages of 15-44, women are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer and car accidents.


Though the best way to avoid violence is through avoidance measures such as walking on a well-lit street and avoiding dark alleys, incidents can still happen. When a woman is attacked in an area where there is no help in sight, she is forced to confront the attacker by herself. At this point, depending on the situation, she must decide whether or not to comply or fight back. According to, “women who are properly trained and confident in their ability to protect themselves” can fight back effectively.  However, for many women, fighting back and possibly hurting someone is a foreign and/or even an uncomfortable idea.


Molly Lao ’13 pointed out that [though] the White House has various initiatives to help curtail domestic violence, it can strengthen its initiatives on dating violence and sexual assault through funding sexual assault workshops. 


Fortunately, many colleges offer a free self-defense program called R.A.D.  R.A.D is aimed at teaching women (and men) the different options of self-defense available when being attacked. For example, where are the vulnerable spots on the body, what if someone grabs your wrists, what if you are backed into a wall? It is important to note that the program involves more than just punching and kicking; it includes lecture, discussion, instruction, and hands-on simulation.


During my first R.A.D class at Brown, we first discussed why women should learn self-defense. To some people, learning how to defend yourself is a no-brainer, but arguments against learning self-defense, especially for women, do exist. The main argument against it is that a woman may escalate a situation by fighting back.  Statistics beg to differ. “Approximately 86% of women escape attempted sexual assaults by resisting and fighting back.”


By no means is R.A.D encouraging women to fight back in all situations due to circumstances where there may be more than one attacker or a weapon involved. Instead, the purpose of R.A.D is to teach women how to assess a situation, “cultivate that internal, self-preservation instinct so that women are knowledgeable of both risk-reduction and avoidance strategies, as well as hands-on resistance strategies” if necessary.


I encourage my fellow female classmates to take advantage of this free program.  As said by one of the instructors, “Release your inner tigress!”