I had envisioned the summer before my first year at college to be relaxed and fun. Taking trips with high school friends, snoozing on the beach and making a little extra money from a summer job were the types of activities I had planned for myself. My parents had other ideas.
Before I knew what hit me, some guy I'd just met was yelling in my ear and telling me to actually hit another guy I'd just met. My mom had signed herself and me up for a women's self-defense class, and I am so glad she did.
It is a shame that I, as a young student, should feel that learning how to defend myself against a sexual predator is necessary before I enter what are meant to be some of the best years of my life, but I absolutely do. News of sexual abuse on college campuses has become practically normal given the number of reports over the years. It doesn't seem to shock us like it used to, and that is a huge problem within itself. Nevertheless, I won't let the normalcy of mistreating young women convince me not to be ready, in case trouble should find me.
I learned how to escape being grabbed onto or held down, and I am no longer afraid to strike back. Most importantly, the moves we were taught could be done by anyone of any size, stature and strength. Even in full panic mode, they will be effective and work for any girl against any sexual predator.
Self-defense skills are handy to have, especially going off to college. In most cases, it's the first time living on one's own and in a new environment. As much as I would like to say that no one would ever want to hurt me, I don't know that for sure. None of us do. I can't trust that every person at my school has respect for me as a woman or person, or that they wouldn't have the ability to take advantage of me. By taking a self-defense class, each of us could be making a statement as well as putting a stop to sexual harassment on campuses.
I have to say, I had a lot of fun learning how to get a guy much larger than my own size into a choke hold. I felt strong and powerful — who could ask for more? I highly recommend investing in a self defense class to all college students. Having even just a few tricks up your sleeve can give a person confidence in themselves and the feeling of safety, both of which, in my mind, are priceless.
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