Since sexual assault upon women is prevalent in our society and over 80% of these assaults are committed by an acquaintance, self-defence is important for all women and girls. The threat of physical violence affects us all: it can inhibit us from going where we want, when we want or from standing up for ourselves in relationships, at school or in the workplace. Effective self-defence training can empower you to move more freely in the world and not let fear restrict your life. Studies have indicated that in the majority of cases, a woman's chances of escape from serious harm are improved by verbal or physical resistance on her part.

Fighting back depends upon women's ability to act for themselves. Fighting techniques can range from yelling, running from an attacker, striking vulnerable body parts (e.g., knees, throat, eyes, crotch, nose), to crippling an attacker. According to Brooklyn Women's Anti-Violence Education Centre, eighty percent of women who yelled and ran from an attacker were able to get away without physical harm. Sixty percent who either yelled or ran got away.

The key to fighting back lies in the transformation of fear into anger into power. To move from fear to anger, women have to believe that they are worth defending. When you realize that you have worth, an attack on your person becomes unacceptable. In attack situations, a defender's first impulse may be to freeze up -- this is a normal, but crippling reaction to fear. Becoming angry allows a defender to relax and use adrenaline to demand that an attack stop and to follow-up with physical strikes. Most women shy away from yelling and using their full physical strength. They tend to keep their power inside, almost as if their strength is something to hide or keep secret. Learning self-defence means developing the strength that comes from combining physical and mental techniques to learn how to do whatever is necessary to get away from an attacker, while ensuring that the attacker cannot continue the attack. Self-defence education helps women demystify myths about sexual violence and to act against violence. How many times have we heard that a woman was asking for it, or that a woman was lucky that she survived an assault? When a woman survives an assault, she wasn't lucky, she was strong. Self-defence teaches women to say "No!" to sexual violence in ways that cannot be ignored.

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