Miss M came to me the other day and told me that she wanted to take self defence classes.
My first response was one of alarm.
Did she feel threatened in any way?
Was she being bullied at school?
Once she re-assured me that all was fine and well, I relaxed a little.
My next question of course, was why?
The response was this, “I think all girls and women should take a self defence class and know how to protect themselves, it’s scary out there for a girl”……
I was very disheartened by her view on society.
But realistically all you need to do is turn on the news to see where this jaded view comes from.
Lately there has been so many reported cases of violence towards women, some isolated and indiscriminate and some committed by the very person that they should be able to trust most in the world.
It is a very sad state of affairs when you have your 16, soon to be 17 year old daughter is thinking that one of her priorities in life must be to learn how to defend herself against any future attack.
Is this the way of the world that our daughters are growing up in?
Do they feel that learning how to defend yourself is a skill that is essential for any modern day girl?
What is exactly going on with our sons, that our daughters feel the need to learn self defence?
20 years ago when I was a young girl finding her way in the world. The thought of taking self defence lessons never even entered my head.
We walked the streets at night, we caught public transport without the fear and urge to keep looking over our shoulders. We felt safe going out and enjoying ourselves at night.
Were we living with some sort of bizarre false sense of security? Or was society indeed a lot safer then?
Bad things did happen to women in the 80’s and 90’s. I mean I remember Anita Coby and that scared the shit out of me!
But these events didn’t seem as frequent as they do now, or was it that many cases of violence again women went unreported and women suffered in silence.
Now that our awareness has been opened to domestic violence in the home, issues that were once swept under the carpet and never mentioned are now out in the open and bare for everyone to see.
This awareness brings these issues to the fore and the hope is that our daughters will never accept any relationship where by they feel demeaned, unsafe and abused.
They in turn will teach their own daughters and sons by example what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t.
In the next breath Miss M was encouraging me to go with her, saying that I should learn a few moves myself, “you never know when you might need them”….
The other night I was watching something on TV (can’t remember what it was now).. Some parents are now electing to buy their daughters Panic Alarms to carry around with them in the school bags and hand bags.
I have to say the idea is not necessarily a bad one and I am considering getting one for each of my girls.
You want your kids to be safe, the thought of something unsavoury happening to them is every parents nightmare. Yet we want them to have freedom too. Freedom to explore the world around them, the freedom to go out and enjoy life and the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them.
It’s a fine line between wrapping them in cottonwool and allowing them fly.
So if some Kung Fu lessons will help my girls to feel confident and safe to go about their every day lives, then so be it.
If a little hidden button in their bags will make any would be attacker flee in alarm, it will be worth it…..
I might go along and learn how to kick some butt too, because the alternative is just too scary contemplate.