Every day on social media it seems, we are hearing about women being victimized.
When you think about self-defense, you rarely if ever think of a woman defending herself. At least for me, I know it was something I never thought about. After all, I have a husband that will defend me if need be, right?
However, what happens when I’m driving home from work by myself and need to fill up my gas tank? How about if I’m walking out to my vehicle with my hands full of groceries, and some one approaches me? What if I was out by myself taking a walk around my neighborhood at dusk? What if a door-to-door salesperson came by my house wanting to give me a pitch, and my husband wasn’t home?
The truth is we don’t think about attacks enough, because we want to believe that people are inherently good and wouldn’t hurt us.
According to the Criminal Victimization Bulletin in 2014, statistical analysis by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that “U.S. residents ages 12 and over experienced an estimated 5.4 million violent victimizations.” (bjs.gov) Violent victimizations include rape or sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.
Selected findings on females specifically showed the following statistics:
- “In 2010, females experienced 270,000 rape or sexual assault victimizations at a rate of about two victimizations per 1,000 females age 12 or older.”
- “In 2005-10, the offender was reported to be armed with a gun, knife or other weapon in 11 percent of rape or sexual assault victimizations.”
- “In 2005-10, 78 percent of sexual violence involved an offender who was a family member, intimate partner, friend or acquaintance.
- Strangers committed about 22 percent of all sexual violence, a percentage that remained unchanged from 1994 to 2010.”
- “In 2005-10, about 58 percent of female victims of sexual violence suffered a physical injury during the attack, such as cuts, bruises, internal injuries, broken bones, gunshot wounds or rape injuries. This percentage remained unchanged from 1994-98 to 2005-10.”
- “In 2005-10, females who were age 34 or younger, who lived in lower income households, and who lived in rural areas experienced some of the highest rates of sexual violence.”
- “From 1995 to 2010, approximately 9% of all rape or sexual assault victimizations recorded in the NCVS involved male victims.” (bjs.gov)
These statistics should tell us something very important; that women are not being equipped to defend themselves against an attacker.
The data paints a dark picture, but it is something we can and should do something about.
I would like to share with you three reasons why women should learn self-defense:
1. Self-defense helps women protect themselves and their family. In my opinion, this is the most important reason for women to learn self-defense, because it is the difference between life and death. While men are touted as the stronger sex, jujitsu is a small man’s sport. Meaning, even though women are smaller and not as strong, this discipline helps women use their opponent’s mechanics against them, such as their height, weight, and even strength. In a self-defense situation, this is pivotal. The majority of attackers are not going to be proficient in martial arts. This provides an edge to women when in a self-defense situation. For example, the stand up art of Bujutsu, provides the means to escape an attacking opponent and get away. The goal is not to stay and continue fighting, rather it is to defend and attack to get away from an assailant to find help. Mull those statistics I previously listed over in your head. Can you imagine what it would be if every woman began to learn and implement martial arts? In 11 percent of those cases, the attacker had a weapon. Another added benefit of self-defense training is the ability to disarm an opponent who is using a weapon against you. The transfer of technique is the same from unarmed to an armed attack. Additionally, the percentage of physical injury would change as well; more than half of women in victimization are harmed. Learning self-defense provides the user with skill to avoid being hurt or injured in an attack. While this doesn’t guarantee safety, it does reduce the risk exponentially in an attack. In a situation where you are fighting for your life, the life of a friend, or even your own children, understanding how to defend yourself can save your life and others.
2. Self-defense builds confidence in women. Growing up, I had a very low self-esteem, and even self worth. Playing sports as I child, I never developed that confidence due to hidden agendas by coaches. Martial arts gave me a confidence that no one could question or take away. Learning the skill, technique, and form to successfully defend myself in a self-defense situation showed me I have worth. That as a woman, I have value beyond that which society tries to place on me. That my life, and the lives of friends and family are important enough to fight for. Instead of cowering because of my perceived weakness, I could be strong physically enough to defend myself in any situation. The great thing about self-defense is that everyone can benefit from it. It does not discriminate against sex, age, physical ability, or societal stigma. This is why I love my women’s self defense class. I have forged new friendships and am continually pushed to excel by my fellow students in class. We build each other up in this discipline as we continue to learn and garner more knowledge in self-defense. Self-defense calls greatness out of women and empowers them to be more than what they think they can be.
3. Self-defense teaches women discipline, and that discipline transfers over to all other areas of their lives. Professionally, I know I am a better coach and businesswoman because self-defense taught me to be calm, control my breathing, and respond instead of reacting to situations. My demeanor has even changed due to the training I receive from self-defense. Personally, it taught me proper body control and understanding. It gave me overall strength, flexibility, dexterity, and cognitive awareness as an athlete. It taught me to be a better student by listening, observing, and learning about the art. Emotionally, it taught me to trust a process that has no definite end. In a microwave society where we want results now, self-defense taught me to be diligent, patient, and even take failures as signs of growth instead of abject defeat. Spiritually, I’m discovering daily revelation on how to become a better wife, daughter, sister, friend, and person altogether. Enduring hardship, and training towards a goal gave me inspired purpose, not just in the dojo but also in my daily walk. Learning self-defense pushed me to grow out of stagnancy and has given me a tool that has no monetary value.
Ladies, I hope you can see that self-defense isn’t just something men do. Rather, it is a training philosophy that every woman should have in their tool box and not just for defending themselves, but to instill confidence, and to apply daily discipline to their lives.
Girls in Gis writer
“Amber is a gym owner with her husband of Temple Builder Fitness in Pampa, Texas. She holds a NASM CPT, PES, CES, FNS credentials, Crossfit level 1 and Strongman certifications, a Precision Nutrition certification, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Geology. In her spare time, she loves reading, traveling with her husband of 11 years, walking her standard schnauzers, and discipling up in bujutsu, Japanese jujutsu, and BJJ at her favorite martial arts studio, Black Dragon Martial Arts in Borger, Texas.”