Personal Safety for Women
Unfortunately, we live in an increasingly violent society in which violence against women is prevalent;
- Every minute in the UK, the police receive a call from the public for assistance for domestic violence ? but only 40.2% of domestic violence is reported. ?
- Every 20 seconds a woman is hit by her partner. ?
- European women aged 16 – 44 are more likely to be injured or die from domestic violence than from road accidents & cancer combined. ?
- 1 woman dies every 3 days due to injuries received from abusive partners. ?
- Every week, to escape a violent partner, 10 women commit suicide. ?
The cost to the public purse is equally significant with a study prepared in 2004 for the UK Government’s Women and Equality Unit by Sylvia Walby estimating that the cost of violence against women in England and Wales could be as high as £40 billion. Taking the Scottish figures from an estimate of this nature is not always easy however even on a simple 10% calculation (based on the relative size of the population base) it can be estimated that the cost of violence against women in Scotland each year could be £4 billion.
What is the answer?
A study by Claudia da Silva, Liz Kelly and Richard Chipping (“What works in avoiding rape/sexual assault?” Oct. 2003) confirmed;
“Whilst studies of avoidance of sexual assault are not as common as research on the experience of rape and its aftermath, there has been a steady flow of them over the last twenty years. Remarkably for social research, particularly across diverse fields, their conclusions are consistent and point in a single direction. Drawing on the studies of rape avoidance we can conclude the following:
- Any form of assertive action/ resistance may interrupt/prevent attacks.
- Assertive action, physical resistance and multiple strategies are by far the most effective.
- Some verbal strategies, such as pleading and crying are less effective.
- Acting immediately increases the likelihood of avoidance.
- Anger and fear can be transformed into energy and motivation to act.
- Women are not powerless in the face of sexual predators.”
This report goes on to highlight the contribution of women’s self defence courses;
“Here we are referring to a particular form of self defence training, which whilst using techniques from martial arts, is not sport, but rather a tool for enhancing personal safety and autonomy. A recent study of women’s self defence across Europe (Seith and Kelly, 2003) found that it now combines learning physical techniques with providing accurate information about risk and likely perpetrators, assertiveness training and role-play – in some approaches extending to scenarios with padded assailants, as well as space for discussion and reflection. It is also holistic in that the whole range of potential violence is addressed – from sexual harassment through domestic violence to rape and sexual assault.”
The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety’s “Personal Safety for Women” courses involve personal safety advice and techniques around the home, in the car, at work and when socialising as well as de-escalating techniques including body language and voice control. If all else fails, we also teach practical self defence skills which are practised on our Body Opponent Bag, in pairs and on padded instructors.
Doesn’t fighting back result in more injury?
This is a question we are continually asked and is answered in the conclusion of the aforementioned “What works in avoiding rape/sexual assault?” study;
“Data here is complex, but the first thing to say is that the majority of rape victims do not sustain serious physical injuries. Whilst some early studies show a correlation between resistance and injury, most did not control for whether the injury took place before or after fighting back. Later studies have found strong evidence that resistance is often prompted by physical violence (Bart & O’Brien, 1985; Kleck and Sayles, 1990; Madden & Sokol, 1997; McDaniel, 1993; Ullman & Knight 1992 and 1993). Whilst some studies do find a slight increase in injury to those who resist, it is not statistically significant, and many who do not resist are also injured. Sharon Grace (1994), concurs:
“It is the attacker’s level of aggression and not the victim’s level of resistance which is more directly correlated with injury. We can conclude, therefore, that resistance does not increase the risk of serious injury.“
With regard to using self defence skills in a domestic violence situation, a 2008 study by Rachael Wyckoff (Self protective behaviours and injury in domestic violence situation: Does it hurt to fight back?) also concluded;
“Sometimes victims of domestic violence will engage in their own form of situational crime prevention. In particular, some victims use self-protective behaviours in order to prevent the completion or reduce the severity of injury in an assault. In this way, self-protective behaviours can be thought of as behaviours in which the woman utilises to decrease the suitability of herself as a target. Women may accomplish this using a variety of methods, both forceful and non-forceful.”
All ScotCPS courses are bespoke and can be tailored to your individual or group needs and involve as much or as little practical self defence as you wish.