The Importance of Self-Defence for Women

One in five women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime and 90 percent of all sexual assault victims are women.

In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), I have been contemplating upon these statistics and how as a female-centred brand, ‘Think Elysian’, we can effect change. We promote the belief that any change begins with a mindset shift and we firmly stand by this year’s theme for SAAM: ‘I ask’. This theme highlights the importance of clear, conscious and sober consent, and emphasizes that the responsibility for crimes of a sexual nature lies solely on the perpetrator and not on the victim.

As a woman, I also believe that it is extremely important to understand the concept of consent and to be empowered enough to create and maintain our personal boundaries. One of the ways that we can feel more confident and empowered is by equipping ourselves with the skills to physically protect our lives and the lives of those around us. As I previously mentioned, we believe that sustained change begins with an alteration in our way of thinking and our perceptions and that is something that learning a skill, like self-defence, can do for us.

Learning self-defence can mentally elevate you from a place of perceived weakness and help you to realise that although you may be physically smaller or weaker than a potential attacker, with the right technique you can protect yourself. I recently came across an article written by a woman who is trained in martial arts. She explained that if she is on a dark street walking at night and she hears footsteps approaching, she immediately begins to think about possible self-defence techniques that she would use if she were to be attacked in that moment. She explains how empowered and in control she feels that her response to a potential threat is one where she is thinking ahead and making calculated predictions rather than one of fear and of a ‘damsel in distress’.

As a child, I believed that my father would always keep me physically safe and that when I grew up, my husband or partner would be my sole protector. In reality, I can mostly, independent of my father, be the sole “protector” for myself and my children. My physical safety and that of my children, is something that I cannot not take for granted. I also cannot give such a grave responsibility of taking care of my physical safety to someone else.

Just looking at the statistics and hearing the stories, we must value our lives and our safety as there is a reality to the risks which we face on a daily basis as women. It is my hope that women, including myself, can feel empowered, confident, bold and strong after being proactive and learning self-defence techniques. It is then very likely that we would be able to translate that mental shift into other spheres of our lives.

This was why we saw the great importance in including a self-defence segment in our upcoming event: ‘Confidence is the New Black’. This was why, we saw the great importance in including a self-defence segment in our upcoming event: ‘Confidence is the New Black’. ‘Confidence is the New Black’ is an event hosted by Think Elysian that aims to inspire and give women the tools to become more brave, bold and confident. On April 28th, 2019, hear from two guest speakers: Lisa-Marie Brown and Simone Da Costa, and participate in a self-defence session taught by Asha and Rae Johnson. For further information check out Think Elysian on Facebook.

Mariessa Newallo
Founder of Think Elysian

The WE Team

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1 Comment
  1. This article is feminist nonsense. FIrst that “one in 5” statistic is a myth – thats why the article never explains it and dont even bother to cite. Its a popular feminist talking point that isnt based in fact (see link) According the the CDC and the DoJ in the US (the most authoritative sources for this) men and women experience sexual assault and unwanted sexual advances at almost equal rates. The difference is that men never report women who sexually abuse them – and i have been personally abused by an ex – and when it was brought up in a court setting and the other party never refuted it, the court which included experts and psychologists, just ignored it. The laws in Trinidad for sexual assault places more responsibility on under aged boys than it does on women. The laws in TT permit men to be abused – both in the letter of the law and in the actual practice of law in the courts. Not to mention the huge social stigma that is attached to a man being sexually abused by a woman. Worse, we know from statistics in developed countries far greater women are abusing teenage boys in schools and juvenile detention. As a matter of fact it is the biggest source of “rape culture” according to the DoJ statistics (esp in detention centers where women prison officials. groom teen boys in exchange for favors) – where are the equivalent demographics in Trinidad and Tobago? You really believe it isnt happening – or are the systems controlled by the media and feminist allies hiding the truth about women and sexuality? Guardian media regularly blocks/shadow block my posts when i critique them so lets see if they will allow it.

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