If you think your daughter or son is too young to learn to defend themselves against sexual and / or violent assault, the uncomfortable question I have for you – are they too young to be the victim of sexual violence?
Then they’re not too young to learn how to defend themselves.
My daughter Lara is 11. She and I went to Erin’s Self Defence workshop today – for humans aged 10 to 110.
It’s a no nonsense, fact driven, jam packed 1.5 hours of the best, practical self-defence tips on the planet. Pro defence tips Lara and I could equally perform.
Today, people mostly came in pairs, men and women together, a father and a son, girlfriends, a mother and her son and daughter, and Lara and me.
We invited several friends who struggled with deciding if talking about sexual assault, and violence was age appropriate for their kids. They didn’t come, which I think is a travesty, and here’s why.
We all walk around in a Pollyanna state or a positivity bias. Basically, this is a very clever trick our brains play on us, making us focus on the optimistic.
It’s the principle that makes us think that ‘bad things happen to OTHER people’. It’s the tool that allows us to leave the house and go about our day because if we focussed on every little thing that could go wrong (like car accidents, strikes of lightning… and sexual assault) we’d never leave the house.
We all need a little Pollyanna to put aside the risks we have no control over.
Brace yourself because I’m about the burst your Pollyanna bubble… depending on the optimism of the study you’re reading; our kids are at a risk of 1 in 3 of being the victims of sexual assault by the time they finish high school.
ONE IN THREE! Holy smokes. When I read that my blood ran cold. If not my kids, it’s sure as hell going to be a friend of theirs.
How do I equip them to defend themselves against that, how do I equip them to support friends through that?
The answer is simple. In the same way I wouldn’t expect them to learn a new language or sport without coaching, I don’t expect them to know how to respond to violence without coaching.
And this is the plan – Erin is the coach for you, your friends, your kids, against violence.
Erin isn’t a scare monger. You’ll never hear her standing up in front of a class and scaring them with details of an attack. Rather she empowers us with super simple strategies ‘if this happens… this is how you stop it’.
If my children DO need to defend themselves against sexual violence I sure as hell don’t want the very notion of sexual violence to be a surprise to them.
We need to know what that is going to feel like, and what to do when it happens.
Delivered in a very non confronting way, Erin teaches self-defence strategies regardless of your fitness or mobility. These are strategies that Lara, at 11, would be able to use as easily as me or my mum, my sisters, or the mountain of women in my life that I adore.
I believe, really strongly, that talking about what we'd do in the event of violence, and sexual violence, means that (Goddess Forbid) my children, or yours, or you or I will have the presence of mind to be able to ACT if the worst happens. We’ll be able to rage, and shove, and gouge and fight and get away, rather than freeze at the very idea.
What we practice, we get better at.
My son and I are attending Erin’s next workshop together. Then we’ll all go together a couple of times a year.