In all the academic building’s bathrooms there are cool posters on campus advertising upcoming events that hang on the back of the stall doors. It ranges from sorority recruitment dates to information on bus trips and performances on campus. I noticed that on the poster, there were 3 dates listed for a rape and aggression self defense class. I thought that something like this might be interesting and helpful for myself and some friends. It also just so happened to be that for one of my courses, I will have to attend 3 campus events and I thought this would be a good first event to attend. I certainly believe that it is important to teach women there are things that you can do to help yourself, even in such a terrifying circumstance.
Since there were 3 dates listed on the poster, my friends and I chose the one that best fit into our schedule and were honestly kind of excited to see what we would learn. We planned on attending for almost a week and when the event day came, we showed up a little early. My friend and I were dressed in the same clothes we wore earlier, having no time to change after a whole day of classes. As soon as we walked in, we got stares from everyone. Immediately we turned to each other confused and then looked back around. There were two women police officers there, who also gave us some rude looks. The first woman stated with a particularly snarky tone: “I said wear sweatpants and sneakers.” I looked over to my friend even more confused then before. My friend tries to clear up all of the misunderstanding and asks when, and if she could participate barefoot, or in her flip-flops. The officers again replied, with some sort of attitude, that if we didn’t attend the previous dates, we couldn’t participate that day either. Well this was news to us, the poster said nothing about attending all three dates, it simply looked like a selection. It should’ve been advertised better.
The officers were not nice, not at all. Everything that they said to us was said quickly and with a tone that really shocked me. Because we were so surprised at the way we were treated, we just turned around and left, sort of embarrassed. I just wanted to know why they couldn’t have been nicer about it, or even offered that since we couldn’t participate, we just observe.
When we got home, kind of mad and disappointed, we thought of something else. If we were ever to be in danger of a situation like assault or rape, would we always have gym clothes and sneakers on? I definitely would say no to that.
I think what is most disappointing is that, a class like this was organized to teach self defense but we were turned away because we weren’t dressed “appropriately” and hadn’t been there the night before. College campuses and towns have a significantly higher crime rate; and one would think that advocating for self defense would be something that they would want to teach as many women as possible. Imagine if any of my friends or I are put into a tough situation where we could’ve used any skills that they might’ve shown us, but since we weren’t wearing sneakers, we couldn’t learn how to defend ourselves. Statistics provided by Johnson C. Smith University, show that 787,000+ women were raped in the last 2 years and that approximately 1 woman is raped every two minutes. Do you think they were all wearing sneakers?
I just really never knew that self defense had a dress code.