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Why Every Woman Should Learn Self-Defense

In a perfect world, there would be no assault, rape or sex trafficking. Us women would not have to worry about what we wear out at night, we wouldn’t be anxious about walking alone or nervous about forgetting our pepper spray. We would take the same route home no matter what time of day it is. We would walk with headphones on whenever we pleased. We would not live our lives in fear. In a time where one in five college-aged women are raped and an even greater number experience sexual harassment (National Sexual Violence Resource Center), we are unable to simply wish for a more perfect world. Instead, we must learn to defend ourselves and fight for change.

Recently, the women of “Mind. Body. Badger.” at the University of Wisconsin-Madison were introduced to the Krav Maga Club. Unlike many forms of martial arts, Krav Maga is taught with the intention of giving power to the victim in an attack. The “victim” is often someone disadvantaged in a physical attack due to smaller stature or inferior strength. Only by recognizing the disadvantages that occur in many incidents, were we able to learn ways to overcome these shortcomings and assert control in threatening situations.

 

Every college woman should explore self-defense and find what is most practical for them. Clubs on campus, local martial arts studios and even YouTube videos can all be useful tools in learning self-defense. It is important to remember that self-defense comes in many forms and they are not all physical.

 

Self-defense can also be listening for warning signs in relationships and knowing your worth. Over half of the reported incidences of rape listed the attacker as an intimate partner (National Sexual Violence Resource Center). These are friends and boyfriends abusing their role in the lives of victims. Never use a person’s position in your life to justify their actions.

 

It is not the responsibility of women to guard themselves against potential attackers. By placing responsibility on victims, we are further normalizing rape and other assaults. Rather, it is our responsibility to continue to challenge the culture which allows this violence and arm ourselves to deal with these all too common horrors. Until the societal attitudes which normalize assault and abuse are changed, we, as college women, must stand together and fight.

Allie Helein

Wisconsin '21

Sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Dietetics and Psychology
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