« Stopfamilyviolence.org Calls on Abuse Prevention Community to Challenge Marriott Hotel Chain's Use of Victim Blaming | Main | Letter of Appreciation from House of Hope Executive Director »

August 19, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Jill Shames

This research is incredibly important to our work. That you for sharing this interview. I have added you to my Blog Feed and strongly urge others interested in stopping violence against women to do the same.

All The Best,
Jill Shames
Rehovot, Israel


"sees women as incapable of understanding complex ideas, such as the fact that perpetrators are responsible for violence whether or not women employ self-defense strategies. As I say in a recent article, “Would anyone seriously suggest that men be shielded from information about how to deter muggers because it
might make them blame themselves for past muggings?”

I think this statement is missing the larger context. Self-defense classes do not exist in isolation and we certainly aren't a society that is free from victim-blaming. The concern of many advocates in regards to self-defense for women isn't about not seeing women as capable of understanding complex ideas, it has more to do with concern over the message being sent to the larger public. A public that already blames victims, a public that already places extreme responsibility solely on women to prevent crimes against them, a public that is all too quick to suggest self-defense for women as the fix-it solution to violence against women in lieu of real prevention.…the concern is that this public, will see and hear the message of self-defense as just another outlet for their victim blaming beliefs. It’s not that women are incapable of understanding the complexity of this; it’s the patriarchal society we live in that doesn’t understand and has a negative impact on survivors. That is what makes self-defense difficult for advocates to embrace. In addition, advocates are also aware of the very normal response that many survivors have to severe trauma, which is self-blame. How do self-defense classes help heal this issue for survivors? How does it not contribute to this harmful belief? In addition, the analogy you make about men being shielded from info regarding muggings is not really an equal analogy. Men in our society have tremendous privilege…part of what makes this example so outrageous is not that it calls into question the gender inequality of how we respond to self-defense for women, it’s that it is hard to imagine a situation in which men would be blamed for anything in the same way that women are when it comes to violence against them. No one is suggesting shielding information from women or that women can’t understand the information, but you do have to take into account the context of the larger society in which self-defense exists and the serious impact that victim-blaming has on survivors.


Atorres, thank you for taking the time to comment. I assure you that concerns about victim blaming and about ensuring that self-defense is part of a comprehensive prevention strategy are key considerations of IMPACT and many other organizations that teach self-defense as part of a comprehensive response to rape.

IMPACT has taught numerous survivors and is always careful to counter self-blaming beliefs. Most survivors leave our classes feeling good about themselves and more resolved about the past. This is true because our programs support survivors in feeling less fearful. Feeling fearful and unable to advocate for oneself is as much of a long-term concern of survivors as self-blame and a trauma-informed self-defense course is a uniquely effective way to help survivors work through this.

Yes, taking self-defense in isolation is a concern. But every single response to rape -- from support groups to legal advocacy to men's engagement to media literacy-- is incomplete and possibly harmful in the absence of other strategies. That's why I believe that prevention should be comprehensive and inclusive of all effective strategies.

Meg Stone
Director, IMPACT Boston

The Armor Clothing Blog

Great post. Keep up the good work!


I am an advocate of woman's self defense myself. Women are so vulnerable to crimes and violations and it is just so sad that most of the victims of such mischief are women. That is why I strongly recommend that women should also learn how to defend themselves or better yet carry with them non-lethal weapons that may back up them in time of trouble.

Judy Connelly

I encourage every woman to take this self-defense class. And always bring safety device


I enjoyed reading your post,it was a little bit long for me but still the information was great
self defense rulls

Martial Art Training


For a woman to defend herself she needs the proper training, not only so she doesn't make the situation worse.

borse burberry outlet

anyone knows for sure I would love to know. He is from a litter that was born at camp in June and came to live with us this past weekend. NONE of us have any bunny experience so any helpful suggestions, comments are more than welcome.

The comments to this entry are closed.