One in five women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime and 90 percent of all sexual assault victims are women.
In light of Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), I have been contemplating upon these statistics and how as a female-centred brand, ‘Think Elysian’, we can effect change. We promote the belief that any change begins with a mindset shift and we firmly stand by this year’s theme for SAAM: ‘I ask’. This theme highlights the importance of clear, conscious and sober consent, and emphasizes that the responsibility for crimes of a sexual nature lies solely on the perpetrator and not on the victim.
As a woman, I also believe that it is extremely important to understand the concept of consent and to be empowered enough to create and maintain our personal boundaries. One of the ways that we can feel more confident and empowered is by equipping ourselves with the skills to physically protect our lives and the lives of those around us. As I previously mentioned, we believe that sustained change begins with an alteration in our way of thinking and our perceptions and that is something that learning a skill, like self-defence, can do for us.
Learning self-defence can mentally elevate you from a place of perceived weakness and help you to realise that although you may be physically smaller or weaker than a potential attacker, with the right technique you can protect yourself. I recently came across an article written by a woman who is trained in martial arts. She explained that if she is on a dark street walking at night and she hears footsteps approaching, she immediately begins to think about possible self-defence techniques that she would use if she were to be attacked in that moment. She explains how empowered and in control she feels that her response to a potential threat is one where she is thinking ahead and making calculated predictions rather than one of fear and of a ‘damsel in distress’.
As a child, I believed that my father would always keep me physically safe and that when I grew up, my husband or partner would be my sole protector. In reality, I can mostly, independent of my father, be the sole “protector” for myself and my children. My physical safety and that of my children, is something that I cannot not take for granted. I also cannot give such a grave responsibility of taking care of my physical safety to someone else.
This was why we saw the great importance in including a self-defence segment in our upcoming event: ‘Confidence is the New Black’.
Just looking at the statistics and hearing the stories, we must value our lives and our safety as there is a reality to the risks which we face on a daily basis as women.
It is my hope that women, including myself, can feel empowered, confident, bold and strong after being proactive and learning self-defence techniques. It is then very likely that we would be able to translate that mental shift into other spheres of our lives.
'Confidence is the New Black' is an event hosted by Think Elysian that aims to inspire and give women the tools to become more brave, bold and confident. On April 28th, 2019, hear from two guest speakers: Lisa-Marie Brown and Simone Da Costa, and participate in a self-defence session taught by Asha and Rae Johnson. For further information check out Think Elysian on Facebook.
Founder of Think Elysian