Teaching Women Self-Defense Doesn't Strengthen The Patriarchy, It Helps Solve The Problem Of Violence Against Women
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Politics and Activism

Teaching Women Self-Defense Doesn't 'Strengthen The Patriarchy,' It Saves Women From Violent Men

Sometimes saving what you love requires fighting the evil that you hate.

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Teaching Women Self-Defense Doesn't 'Strengthen The Patriarchy,' It Saves Women From Violent Men

I recently ran across a Tumblr post that argued against teaching self-defense to women. Basically, this Tumblr user declared that females shouldn't have to learn self-defense since men shouldn't be assaulting women in the first place, and if women learn to fight back, then they're just surrendering to the violent methods of the patriarchy. The person who posted this may have good intentions, but this argument against women's self-defense is deeply flawed.

First, before I proceed, I want to be very clear where I stand on this matter: I do not believe that any sort of sexual assault or violence against women is alright. Regardless of a woman's dress or behavior, no man is ever justified in attacking or violating her. Women (and any other assault victims) should not be blamed for the vile deeds of criminals. Thus, regarding the previously mentioned post, I agree with the Tumblr user's assessment that men should certainly not attack women in the first place. The problem lies with the perpetrators, not the victims.

That being said, it may appear that the most obvious way to reduce violence against women would be to change our culture and deter men from ever becoming attackers or rapists in the first place. Indeed, this would be the ideal solution, and we should certainly work toward that. No innocent person should have to endure violence of any sort, and we should seek to eradicate the problem of assault at its root by bringing a peaceful halt to human violence and creating a culture where all people are treated with love and respect.

Thus, we certainly SHOULD seek to end these sick acts against women and other victims. However, no matter how hard we try, bad people will always still exist, and oftentimes our best efforts are not enough to change their hearts and create a culture of peace and love. We are only limited humans, and we cannot eradicate all wickedness.

But even though we cannot change the hearts of all humans by urging and teaching them to treat others with respect, we do have other tools at our disposal. And this is the very reason that I want women to learn self-defense: because by teaching women to fight, we are recognizing and confronting the harsh reality that this world is frightening and evil - and sometimes the only way to protect yourself from being hurt is to physically fight back.

Is it right that women are attacked in the first place? Absolutely not. Is it right that women find themselves in the position of having to defend themselves from cruel, hateful men? Again, no. Men who treat women so vilely must be stopped, and we must train up new generations of men who respect women. But while we seek to achieve this overarching, long-term goal, we must also recognize that women in the here and now are still being attacked - and when faced with a potential assault situation, women need to have the skills to protect and prevent themselves from becoming victims.

Self-defense is a way to save women from violent men, not something that strengthens the patriarchy by making women just as violent as men. Rather than exacerbating the problem of violence, self-defense helps us solve the problem of women being hurt. After all, the whole point of self-defense is to protect yourself when necessary, not to become vicious and violent by nature. Supporting women's self-defense is not misogynistic; instead, this approach actually empowers women because it allows them to show their strength and courage by standing up for and defending themselves. It isn't the whole solution, but it is a vital way of taking necessary precautions.

Sometimes saving ourselves, the innocent, and the people that we love involves recognizing how cruel this world really is and physically fighting evil. Victims of assault are not to blame for what happens to them, but sometimes the only way they can protect themselves is by meeting violence with equal force. Sometimes saving what you love requires fighting the evil that you hate.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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