Stop Defending Women! Well, kinda, sorta. In the early 1970’s along with a college friend, I was asked by Los Angeles School District to write a book on self-defense that was also used as a state-wide text. We did. The class at school went on for a year, but was sabotaged for political reasons. I also taught several all-day classes in the community for women. I’m extremely proud and grateful that several women who took the classes contacted me through the years to let me know they survived an attack because of what they had learned.
Because of my wife and daughter, I developed this philosophy:
Defend a woman, and she is helped for a day. Teach a woman to defend herself, and she helps herself (and others) for a lifetime.
Now, don’t misinterpret this to mean I don’t / won’t step in. I have and will. There’s a special place in hell for males and bullies who pick on someone weaker or smaller. I love what one 10-year-old girl said to her father when he was going to spank her. “Does it make you feel like a real man to spank a little girl, Daddy? So, go ahead and do it.” Neutralizing a threat isn’t always physical. In psychology it’s called setting boundaries.
As I’ve written previously, misogyny and the control of women is one of the legs of The Tripod of Bigotry. Powerful women scare the hell out of weak and pseudo-strong men, yet those are the very men who try to control them. Teaching women to defend themselves in all aspects helps neutralize a threat, whether it’s physical, verbal or psychological.
Keep in mind that the most powerful weapon any person has is her / his brain (okay, for most). Always stand up for someone if you see / hear them being picked on. Too many people think they should not interfere. Anti-bullying should be everyone’s business. This most certainly applies to all forms of bullying including racism, Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia.
Until next time, this is Dr. Andrew telling you to “Be kind to yourself.”
Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.