Ever since I was a child I have heard warnings about how dangerous the world can be and would be told various news stories on how other girls have become victims. After that, my mother would warn me not to do certain things and report the consequences to me repetitively as I grew up. And most women might have experienced the same thing, being told to be extra careful because of our gender.
We didn’t choose to be women, but we have to deal with the need to be cautious because most of us are physically smaller and weaker compared to our counterparts. So, many have taken lessons for self-defense to protect themselves, but what about the times when physical self-defense doesn’t apply? There should be a better way than inputting such mindsets into females at such a young age.
Modifying the List of “Never’s”
I’m pretty sure most of us have been told to not do a lot of things like to never go out alone or you will be more vulnerable, never wear revealing clothing or you’ll more likely attract predators, never accept a stranger’s drink or you might get drugged, and more. The bottom line is that people are making women sacrifice the way they want to live their lives for their own safety.
What needs to be modified is that the new list of “never’s” should apply to everyone. And it includes common sense like never attack an innocent person, never touch anyone without consent, never judge anyone based on what their wearing, etc. Women should not need to be worried and fearing for their lives when they go out, regardless of what they’re wearing. Women shouldn’t be blamed when they were the ones facing danger. Unfortunately, society would seek faults from women for the danger they have faced instead of blaming the predator. And that’s why everyone needs to be re-educated on a new list of “never’s.”
A lot of females either took physical self-defense lessons or learned tips on how to fend off someone when they’re caught, but what about mentally? In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote: “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” According to UN Women, 58% of women that were intentionally killed were done by people they know, as in their family, partners, or friends. In other words, we need to know how to prevent such scenarios from happening or get ourselves out of the situation before it escalates to when we need to physically defend ourselves.
- Setting Boundaries
Sure, we would trust our friends, family, and especially our partner more than a random stranger, but it’s also very important to set boundaries in close relationships. Some people forget that just because we have a connection, it doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want to us. This applies to literally everyone we communicate with, like colleagues, relatives, friends, neighbors, teachers, everybody. And the upsetting thing is, not everyone understands that people have borders they don’t want people to cross, so we’ll have to show or remind them what we don’t like.
With the boundaries set, people can still get along but with the others’ limitations in mind. That might also decrease the possibilities of people taking advantage of us, whether it just be using us or attacking us, they would have the ramifications in mind as a subconscious warning. If anyone decides to advance further than what we’re comfortable with, they cannot blame us for fighting back since we have made it clear beforehand, this would lead to consequences.
- Saying “No”
Oddly enough, many people can’t comprehend the meaning of “no”. Although setting boundaries through understanding each other on a mental and emotional standpoint is a good way to maintain a relationship, saying no is the most direct way of telling the other what we don’t like. It’s straightforward and gets the point across, but some people may feel uncomfortable with saying no either from not wanting to seem rude and ungrateful or from not wanting to jeopardize what we have with them.
However, if the people around us really care, they would be understanding about why we refused. It’s also the best way to pinpoint who we want to keep by our sides and lessen the possible danger we might face from people we know. And by saying no, it specifically should be things we are uncomfortable with, not to reject something just because we’re too lazy. If someone still pressures you even with the most serious “no”, then maybe they’re someone we should stay far away from. So, it really is ok to say no.
- Body Language and Verbal Self-Defense
In an everyday situation where we meet both strangers and people we know, we can show that we’re not an easy target. Other than having someone walk with us, we can walk with confidence with our heads high, eyes focused, and at a steady speed. A quick greeting in a calm tone in reply to an offensive remark would show we’re recognizing them as a fellow human being and possibly deter them from saying anything disrespectful.
Or to lessen the aggression of the situation, we should keep our calm when talking to the aggressor. Provoking and arguing with the hostile person would only worsen the condition, and if we were to stay calm without giving them anything to intensify the problem, they wouldn’t be triggered to start an actual fight. And to be honest, they’d look a little stupid just yelling by themselves.
Correcting the Mindset
Rather than being in a dangerous situation, women are also more likely to be in cases where they’re seemingly harmless but are definitely taken advantage of. For instance, when someone keeps passing their responsibilities to us during work or someone who won’t leave us alone in real life and through the internet. Most people would rather ignore it than to confront it, therefore not setting any boundaries between ourselves and the problem would allow more of this to happen and possibly escalate to something worse.
In order to protect ourselves, we can prevent it by changing the environment around us.