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I would like to see more on feminist self-defense for women and girls as a regular feature- since as you say 1/4 of all women worldwide are battered it IS a public health emergency. Perhaps more articles, tips, resources, books, etc. I would also like to know if there's anything in the works to legislate "feminist self-defense" as part of the school requirement (phys ed) to graduate? This would include minimum proficiency levels so that every chld would graduate with at least basic skills in self-defense. I'd like to see this from grade school through college. This may also help the males somewhat since most martial arts disciplines stress respect and violence only as a last resort for self - defense.

I think you will agree the level of violence perpetrated against women justifies it. I know I would have appreciated it having been physically assaulted by boys from my first day at kindergarten on to the curent day - and these males were complete strangers, non-intimates. I cannot think of anything more empowering to a girl / woman than the ability to take down a larger, physically assaultive male. It's my dream.

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM--and first things first--I hope your dream comes true!!!!

I think you are on to a great idea--requiring every school to teach self-defense. Similar to the physical education requirement that exists now.

The perfect group to pursue this is the "Empower Program", which was started by Rosalind Wiseman after she was assaulted. (She actually wrote a book about this experience and this process of recovery, too--Defending Our Lives.) Empower has created self-defense/self-empowerment courses in schools. They have had much success, but also faced much resentment--hassle. I don't know how people in this day and age can still manage to describe such work as "controversial," but they do. You should contact Empower not only about pursuing your idea, but about going through one of their courses. They, like other programs such as Model Mugging, put the emphasis on self-empowerment, because the focus is empowering individuals rather than teaching them skills. People I know who have taken such courses always talk about how much it transformed their lives. It taught them how to create boundaries, where they didn't previously exist. It's great--and I highly recommend it to you.

I hope this helps--and I hope in five years time I will look at the new requirements to implement self-defense classes in all high schools and think, that must have been that woman who wrote to Ask Amy.

Enjoy - and be safe.


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