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Author Topic: Defend yourself...
Gaffer
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There is a well known story (and perhaps urban-legend) about a woman in an elevator who screamed when two black men told her to hit the floor. As the story goes they were pro-basketball players merely taking the elevator, but the story illustrates how some women can feel very vulnerable in the presence of men, particularly those who they suspect may intend to harm them.

But does a persons ability to defend him or herself really have anything to do with gender? Do things like body size or strength mean anything when faced with a gun? How big a difference does it make what gender you are in a situation where you may be mugged at knife or gunpoint?

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I am not who I appear to be.

Gaffer--from under the moon backstage

(edited because I can't spell today)

[This message has been edited by Gaffer (edited 12-12-2001).]


Posts: 356 | From: Phoenix--name that plurally | Registered: Dec 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gumdrop Girl
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as a student at one of the most crime-ridden university campuses in the country, i've been lectured plenty of times about how not to get killed during a mugging. yes folks, Welcome Week at Cal includs self-defense (and self-non-defense) seminars. Statistically, more male students get mugged than female students here. We're all told that if the assailnt claims to have a weapon, or brandishes a weapon, then we are to comply with their demands and just hand over our wallets and bags or whatever else they want from us. Every year, one or two guys gets beaten up, but luckily, no one's been killed in a robbery during my time here. I myself have never been the victim of violent crime, and i consider myself extremely lucky. then again, i'm extremely caustious and i avoid going out after dark as much as possible.

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I bust my arse so that I can get somewhere in life, so why am I not there yet?


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'rin
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i think part of the added fear that women feel comes from the fact that in our society women are much less likely than men to get into many physical fights during their childhoods. the guys i grew up with spent a lot more time fistfighting than i did. this gave them a better idea of how to throw and take punches, and a better idea of how much pain they can and can't take.
as a side note - i work in a relatively high crime area and every single woman who works with me carries one or more weapons on her person (mace, 2 swith blades, a pen that comes apart to a knife, and steel toed boots that have been used to break knees to name a few). none of the guys i work with consider their pocketknives weapons. that says somethign i think.
rin

Posts: 219 | From: lost in yonkers | Registered: Nov 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Confused boy
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Maybe this is perhaps one of the few examples where women (in general) could learn some characteristics from men (in general). I go to a self-defense class semi-regularly and despite a fairly good mix, men outnumber the women. There is not a great difference between their strengths and so a woman is a fine match against a man of the same standard.

So it would seem that the apparent weakness of women is culturally induced rather than due particularly to physical limitations. So I suppose encouraging as many women as men to train to defend themselves will build up the confidence of women in general and they will not feel so victimised. Having said that, I believe statistics still show young men to be the most common victims of attack, because they tend to take greater risks. Violent crime is not directed particularly at women.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Heather
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Gotta chime in with you there, Confused, just as something to note: statistically, the GREAT majority of violence is male-to-male.

But while we're slaying myths, physiologically, mens and women have DIFFERENT sorts of physical strength, not greater or lesser, it is simply in different areas of the body in general, and in different skills. When it is said that men are simply physically stronger than women, it's quite the misnomer.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Beppie
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I have to admit, that sometimes I become uncomfortable when I'm walking across my campus at night and see a man I don't know- I've never been attacked, but at some sub-conscious level, I am more afraid of strange men than I am of strange women, even though most women could probably overpower me too- I'm not very strong.

However, I do have to chime in with those who have brought up the issue of men being attacked. Recently my university's womens room ran a campaign to make the campus safer for women, and a student magazine interviewed both men and women about it- pretty much all the guys said "We don't just have to make the campus safter for women, we have to make it safer for everyone." While I agree with Confused Boy and Heather about the apparent defenselessness of women being culturally induced, we also have to consider that the perception that men are better at defending themselves is also culturally induced. As such, you end up with an unfair situation where there are resources for women dealing with violence on the street, campus etc, but not for men.


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Confused boy
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Yes, indeed these sort of drives to help women in particular merely emphasise the cultural portrayal of women as victims. That sort of thing will make women even less confident about themselves if they are told that a place isnt not safe for them specifically.

As well as strength, which as Miz Scarlet said is not at all conclusively in mens favour anyway, there is also the skill of protecting yourself. And that is something that both men and women must have the similiar potential in. Its not just strength, its how its used.

Oh I feel mildly uncomfortable when I come across a man I dont know alone on the street so thats not just for women. It may be partly because I am not very big. I do not tend to fear women so much as they tend to be smaller (if still larger than me). I suppose women attackers are more uncommon, partly culturally again perhaps. Of course, knowing self-defence, I have reasonable confidence in any situation I am likely to find myself in.

Though as our teacher says, the best block is not to be there in the first place, and that works for keeping off an attack to your face by stepping to the side, all the way up to being a couple of miles away in a safer part of town because you had heeded the warnings that this street was dangerous.

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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Dzuunmod
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Indeed, while the great majority of violence is male on male (my figures show about 3/4 of all violent crimes are directed at men) that just isn't reflected in anti-violence campaigns.

Is violence against women worse than violence against men? If not, why is there a day to mourn violence against women, but none to mourn violence against men, or everyone? If it is, how is it worse? But then, I might contend that violence between two different sexes (mostly male on female) is what's really seen as worst. Male on male violence isn't classified as a societal problem in the same way that male on female violence is, even though it's far more prevalent. For some reason, we just leave male on male violence under the huge, general "violence" umbrella.

As an example, consider programs such as this one (you'll have to scroll down a bit to see it, however) which allows Toronto's female public transit users to get off the bus between stops (so they'll not have to walk alone as far) between 9pm and 5am. It's like that in Montreal and Ottawa as well, I'm certain.

Perhaps it's just that women have been more effective in lobbying for these sorts of things than men have, or something. But still, it seems like public institutions like transit companies would be better off remaining neutral on this sort of stuff.

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My God can beat up your God.
-Weights and Measures

[This message has been edited by Dzuunmod (edited 01-09-2002).]


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Rizzo
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Indeed... sometimes I wonder if man-on-woman violence is seen as being worst because of leftover sexist notions that women are helpless ("never hit a girl"). Are feminists merely vicimizing themselves when preaching awareness about violence against women? (open ended question, not rhetorical)
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Munchy
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I agree that we should try to make the owrld a safer place for all people, not just women but men, too. I think that the reason male on female violence is seen as worse than male on male violence is partly because of the boys will be boys" mentality. It's manly to fight, but not ladylike. Also, aside from (but, oddly aslo including) domestic violence, male on female violence is more likely to end in rape than male on male violence. While I will say that murder (what is most likely to happen in male on male violence if the fight isn't broken up first) is worse than rape, rape comes in a very close second (and is more commonly the outcome of male on female violence than murder is of male on male violence).


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Munchy, the Munchkin, the Monchichi

[This message has been edited by Munchy (edited 01-10-2002).]


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Heather
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I think the difference you see in how male-female violence is treated as opposed to male-male is because it gets far more complex to deal with when your victim is also your perpetrator. That'd be my best guess, anyway.

There is SO very little female-female violence and were that not the case, I think things'd be quite a bit different in terms of the innequity of the attention violence twoards the genders gets. In the case of dealing with violence towards men, I'd gander to say that coming up with how to really work on the problem of violence PERIOD -- not simply self-defense -- comes more in play. In short, it's nothing close to eas easy or one-sided. Too, I think for that to happen, men are going to need what the women who have lobbied and made strides with in terms of addressing the violence aginst them, and that's the motivation to DO something about it and a serious address of it.

And just lobbing "bad" men into prison or "high risks" (that's so offensive) doesn't count.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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Dzuunmod
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Uhhh...Miz S, I'm not sure what you mean about the victim also being the perpetrator. When does that happen, and how does it relate, here?

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My God can beat up your God.
-Weights and Measures


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Heather
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Male-male violence: victim=male, perpetrator=male.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson


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BruinDan
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And just to throw a further monkey wrench into the system, the fastest-growing type of violence in the United States in 2000 was female-on-female violence. Simple assaults and batteries led the way, but the incidences of female-on-female sexual assaults registered a modest increase as well. (Per October 2001 US Department of Justice figures)

Is it becoming more socially acceptable (or at least less socially undesirable) for women to settle arguments via fistfights, much like it has been with men in the past? Is it just another area where women are equalling men? Or is it just a trick of statistics? Whatever it is, I will admit to being interested in it...I just wish I had some answers.

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Confused boy
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Well I suppose we ought to start tackling violence as whole now both genders seem to be part of it. Personally I would say it is all to do with the capitalist society we live in where people are encouraged to live in a "nuclear family" but without any wider family support and the lack of trust with neighbours as your supposed to be competing with them.............. [warbles on ad infinitum]

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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