Friday, May 30, 2014

Mothers: Why Aren't Your Daughters Enrolled in Self-Defense Classes?

This Elliot Rodger mass murder with the Retribution message of hatred to women has really shaken me to my core.  Had someone answered the door to the sorority house in Isla Vista, he would have murdered every girl in the building as well as those he gunned down on the street.. In any case, I was reading the comments section of one article, where a mother proclaimed that she "was thinking of putting her daughter in a self-defense class." Wait a minute. . . thinking. . . why thinking?  And that's when a roiling in the pit of my stomach gripped me Suddenly I remembered the three women in Ariel Castro's basement and Elizabeth Smart and the two teens in the house chained to the walls.

I feel heartbreaking compassion for all of the victims of sexual slavery, abuse and violence.  But ladies, it really is time for us to de-victimize ourselves. I'm not an aggressive person.  But rather than sit around bemoaning all the misogynists in the world, women really do need to learn self-protection and it needs to start in kindergarten, in age appropriate ways. But please let me clarify. There's nothing anyone could have done against a gun-crazed lunatic. But there are so many other situations where women feel defeated because they do not realize that an attacker who is bigger and stronger can be overcome.   I'm not talking about becoming hardened or cynical  or cold.  The world is not evil.  It just is.  If we want to engage with life we must get out in it. Yes, there's misogyny. Maybe we can raise our sons with a greater sensitivity to gender equality or maybe the patriarchal culture will undo our best efforts.  Whatever the case, if we desire to function in the world, we really can't spend too much time whining about the way it is.  We simply need to see that our daughters are prepared for the real thing rather than some feminist fantasy, which may or may not ever come to pass.

We shouldn't be thinking about signing our daughters up for self-defense classes, we should be signing up with them.  (And just in case you're interested, I know a superb kenpo karate instructor in Denton, TX who also heads the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame - click here).  .

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