From the moment girls are old enough to go out on their own, they’re given the same advice: be careful where you go, what you do, how you dress and who you go out with. Never park in an unlit spot, keep your keys handy, don’t get distracted by your mobile phone, walk with a friend, stick to crowded places. Stay together, stay safe.
It’s drummed into us that our safety is our responsibility. We know that avoidance is the best form of defence, which of course it is, but sometimes there are situations, places and people that you can’t avoid, no matter how hard you try.
Not many of us are taught what to do if the worst ever happens. That’s why Swallowtail WI channelled our inner ninjas and learnt some self-defence at our last meeting. Glen and Tony, two Tae Kwon Do experts came to show us some basic moves we could use if we’re ever caught in a difficult situation.
Our members range in age from their twenties to their seventies and several have health restrictions, but we all had a go and discovered that you don’t have to be strong or super fit to be able to protect yourself. There are some really easy moves you can do to break away from someone who has grabbed hold of you. A simple twist of your wrist or a change of direction can give you enough momentum to pull free, allowing you to put distance between you and your attacker. The goal is always to break away and run for safety.
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, we’re all aware that no matter how careful you are, you can still find yourself under threat. Feeling powerless is the worst part and having no idea what to do if you’re attacked makes the world seem much scarier. Everyone went home from the meeting feeling safer and more prepared, knowing what we could do in an emergency. I’m glad that the Swallowtail members now have some tools to protect themselves; I pray they never have to use them.
First appeared in the EDP, Saturday 2nd November .
Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash
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