Friend of Zombie and former blogger (not to mention newly re-employed) Von posted on FaceHell about being verbally harassed and body-shamed by a bunch of idiot male idiots outside of a movie theater recently, and it made me think of lots of stuff. Lots of stuff that is one sided on my part, as a white hetero dude, who has probably been on the giving side of that harassment equation when I was younger more than I would like to admit.
As another former Blogger of the Bloggerhood said “Who knows. I do know though, that as a female, you’re open to commentary from day one, no matter the decade.” Which is what Futrelle has been documenting destroying over at We Hunted The Mammoth (formerly ManBoobz) for quite some time. The privilege demonstrated by men who do this shit in order to make themselves feel more important through manipulating and harassing and molesting a person that they are fairly sure won’t fight back.
I mentioned on FaceHell that I was helping out with my TKD instructor’s self-defense class last night. She teaches a class to defend against muggings, assaults, and rape; for the final class, she enlists the aid of a few of us male black belts to gear up in Mad Max looking gear and attack these students as they walk through an abandoned school (she figures that a black belt is suitably able to defend themselves against the basic techniques).
There is an amazing video floating around, of women talking about their harassments and assaults in public areas maybe you’ve seen it but if not:
After watching that video, I reflected on several of the techniques taught in the class, simple but allow for making these assaulting assholes think twice, or at least wiping that “whattaya gonna do about it girlie?” smirks off their misogynistic and ugly faces.
But what it made me think of more than anything else are a couple of the game-played attacks. For the final one, us attackers were tiring and sweaty, so we convinced the instructor to let us ‘invade’ the gymnasium where the final two women were waiting, with an unannounced kamikaze attack. The responded with the most natural panic we had been able to elicit from anyone all night. Taken completely unawares, visibly and audibly terrified, they still managed to remember some of the techniques they had been taught, and successfully fended off 2-on-one attackers until the rest of the class could come down and help them.
But the one that will stick with me is one of the solo attacks. I lunged out at the victim from an alcove, grabbed her arms, then pushed her back into the alcove. Her face changed; she started to realize one of her worst nightmares- the big guy pushing her into an enclosed space. And then the terror melted from her face as she remembered her techniques; she clawed at my arms, stamped on my shins and feet, and clubbed me on the back of my head with a hammerfist. I let go, there was no choice, and she ran down the hall.
I was a little sore last night, and my legs and feet were stiff this morning. But after watching this video, and reading Von’s post, I felt like that is nothing compared to the constant and unrelenting harassments that women receive; largely because they are perceived as powerless. And the response is that I want to give them power.
Oh yeah, title song and I will give a trigger warning for assault and noise. This song is amazing and tough to listen to even as a male.
I have been remiss in my workouts, with professional life kicking my ass seven ways to Sunday and back again; but this effort is something I feel even more strongly about. It’s not about some misguided notion that women should be physical equals to men, but that women should know that there are several easy to learn techniques that, if they don’t level the playing field, Do allow for freedom and flight.
It should be mentioned that one of the women that had been through this class, was accosted late at night by an Asshole With A Gun (which will now and forever be acronymized on this blog as AWAG. Expect a LOT of that usage) and she yelled, blocked his gun hand, kicked him, de-gunned him, and then ran off into the night screaming for help.
My wife has a couple of stories about assault. Her best friend has them. I GUARANTEE that if you are in a room with two women, there are assault stories.
Guys, we have to do better. We have to tell our fellow fellas that this shit will not stand. We have to stand up for people like Von who don’t feel like they will be defended. We have to insist that our fellow dickswinging shitheads are not able to behave that way. We have to not only tell our spawn but DEMONSTRATE to them that respect for everyone and every race includes respect for every gender.
and YES, this does perforce and obviously include transgender. Don’t make me come down there and kick your ass, jerkwads.