Tag Archives: girls

Fighting Violence – The Way That Works

Women do not have to tolerate sexual harassment

In the world we live in, everyone is fighting for something.

We each have our cause, a problem we’re battling; poverty, sizeism, racism, terrorism, etc. These are all big problems. Huge problems. Problems which are too big for one person to fight, originating in human survival instincts. These issues are going to exist for as long as humans exist, because it’s who we are, and how we survive.

And here’s another one: Rape.

Why is rape set aside from the others? Rape is a giant, universal problem, claiming more and more victims every day. One in THREE women – those are the statistics! So why am I mentioning it down here, and not up there with the rest of its friends?

Because rape can be fought.

With kicks and screams. With an aggressive look in the eye. With a single word.

Most of the problems I stated above have an idea at their basis. For instance, the idea that someone who is different is a threat (racism), or the idea that being fat is unhealthy (sizeism). In both of these cases the problem originates from a survival instinct, but is fueled by our subconscious belief that this idea is solid fact. In the case of rape, this idea is that men are stronger than women.

IMPACT battles this concept at its roots, shaking up humanity at its most basic, existential levels. Beyond proving without a doubt that women are equally strong in their bodies as men, IMPACT says: women do not have to tolerate sexual harassment. Women do not have to tolerate verbal abuse. A woman does not have to stand there quietly while someone hisses and whistles at her. She’s allowed to stop him the instant she feels slightly uncomfortable. You don’t have to wait for him to hit you in order to tell him to leave you alone. All of these things seem so trivial, we shouldn’t even have to think about them. And yet, the opposite is so deep within us, it has become our nature to tolerate abuse and disrespectful behavior.

So many women go through years unable to say the word “no” without feeling pangs of guilt. IMPACT teaches us that it’s never too early to say no to something you do not want. You’re allowed to say no to the way someone looks at you. You’re allowed to say no to people you love. You’re allowed to say no in random, everyday situations. You’re allowed to say no in the middle of sex, and you don’t have to feel bad or apologize for it. No one has the right to force you to do anything, and no one has the right to cross your own personal boundaries. And if you don’t think you can stop them, you should learn how.

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Personal Boundaries: If I Don’t Respect Them, Who Will?

Boundaries: If I don't respect them, who will?

To respect your own boundaries you need to know what they are.  They need to be an intimate part of your personality. They must have shape, form and content. If we wait until they are tested it is significantly more difficult to act. Why? Because personal boundaries are confusing and they are not built of stone. They are built by conviction.

Last Tuesday night I found myself standing in front of a lovely group of about 30 religious high school girls in Gedera. My goal: Convince them to sign up for the self defense course starting next week.

You might think that in 15 years of teaching self-defense, I would get into a routine of how I teach a class. However, I am amazed at how each time I run an introductory self-defense workshop it’s different.

I must thank the Simpsons for providing new meaning to the term “Krav Maga” as I found myself Kiai-ing  like Lisa Simpson every time a verbal strategy became a need for a strike. The girls had been told that I was going to be teaching Krav Maga (Oops – I am a Judo Teacher…)

Somehow even after years of working with this very progressive school, which is one of the few girls’ schools that officially requests a self-defense course for their students, I was stumped. “They just don’t get it!”

I decided to try setting a different goal: get them to understand why El HaLev’s Self Defense is different from others, and how essential it is to learn.

After an hour of scenarios and demonstrations of different types of responses to different levels of attacks, it dawned on me. One sentence came out of my mouth that made it so intensely clear why I had driven to Gedera for a one hour intro.

If you do not respect your own boundaries, how can you expect anyone else to?

Take a minute today. Show respect to your personal boundaries by getting to know them. Allow them to take form and to exist within your consciousness and not be some far away relative you only think about when someone mentions them.

Yudit Sensei

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Filed under Violence Prevention, Women Empowerment

Can A Woman Fight A Man?

Let’s assume that not everyone is a high ranking martial artist. Is it possible for a woman to escape from a man who grabs her?

“Does anything hurt?” the instructor asks kindly.

“No,” I reply, trembling slightly.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes,” I say, not entirely sure if I mean it.

Before I have time to breathe, I am grabbed from behind by a man who is twice my size and in full armor. His arms are strong, locked around my chest.

“HANDS!” yells the instructor. I raise my hands slightly, but I can only move my forearms because my upper arms are trapped beneath his.

“WAIST!” yells the instructor. I shove my hips backward at the man holding me. He staggers slightly but his grip remains firm. I have gained an inch of space, just enough to slip my arm out of his grasp and slap him hard in the –

“GROIN!” yells the instructor.

The man releases me as his hands drop to his groin, which is supposedly throbbing painfully. I turn around, hands raised, prepared to protect, prepared to punch hard.

“HEAD!”

I punch him in the face.

“GROIN!”

Again? Yep. Because my knee is right there. It’s an easy target, and my legs are strong, so I can hit hard.

“HEAD!”

Because, having been hit in the groin twice, the man has bent over and his head is hanging conveniently next to my knee. I knee him in the head. He falls over onto his back, arms at his helmet, the signal that, were he without his padded armor, he would have been unconscious.

IMPACT is an internationally recognized personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense training program, which is part of a comprehensive effort to prevent sexual assault and other acts of interpersonal violence and boundary violations.

In IMPACT we learn much more than punching and kicking; we learn to set clear verbal boundaries, to stand up for ourselves. We learn to appreciate the strength of our own bodies which not many women are aware of.

When it comes to a physical confrontation, we learn to match a woman’s strengths to a man’s weaknesses in order to get away unscathed. Usually, in everyday life, they are matched the other way; a man’s strengths to a woman’s weaknesses – which leads us to believe the common stereotype that men are stronger than women. The truth is, men are stronger in the upper body, while women are stronger in the lower body. So when a man and a woman arm wrestle, of course he’s going to win – upper body strength! But what if we matched lower body strength in a man and a woman?

Now, you might say, “That’s not fair!” It’s not fair to match one person’s strength against the other’s weakness. But may I calmly point out that SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS NOT FAIR either. If someone is trying to rape you, shouldn’t you be allowed to play dirty?

Written by @liorasophie.

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Filed under IMPACT, Violence Prevention, Women Empowerment