Saturday, December 15, 2007

Learn to Fight: Self Defense Training Helps Prevent Domestic Violence

Writing on Salon's Broadsheet, Catherine Price reports that the governor of Kentucky recently pardoned 21 women who either killed or tried to kill men who abused them. The piece indicates that the abuse the women endured was horrible, but in some cases, so was their response to it.

Price observes:
But I think the real question to deal with is what we can do to prevent such situations from occurring in the first place. It's hard to assert that someone who has been raped, stabbed and beaten doesn't have a legitimate reason to want to escape from her or his abuser. But what does it say about the recourses available to victims of domestic abuse that these women felt that they had no choice but to kill their abusers?

There are many more resources for abuse victims these days than there were back in the 1970s, when setting up shelters and rape crisis centers were significant feminist actions. But, as with many needed social services, we can still use more programs.

Links in the Broadsheet article provided lists of various resources, but I noticed one thing missing: There were no links to self defense courses or programs. My answer to what Price calls the real question -- what we can do to prevent domestic violence -- is to help women discover their ability to take care of themselves.

As regular readers of this blog can probably guess, I'm not just looking to give women the skills to fight back against abusive spouses or boyfriends. I want to see women develop the skills, awareness and self confidence that will help them either avoid bad relationships or get out of them quickly once they understand the situation.

That is, I want women to learn to take care of themselves so they can avoid becoming victims. That will also help them avoid becoming killers.

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