How safe do you feel in your neighborhood? Can you walk down the streets at night? As Americans, we tend to feel we are safe except for women. Women tend to learn different social navigation techniques such as don’t go out after dark, stay out of alleys and no parks after Dusk. Women were always kept closer to home since we were deemed the “vulnerable” half of the human species. That vulnerability is alive and well as women’s homicides remain uncomfortably high. Nearly 52 women a month are killed by domestic gun violence while street violence has claimed 69 women’s lives in Chicago just this year. What are the solutions for keeping American women safe? We need a Congressional movement to create state-led resources for girls.
It’s time schools require self-defense classes for girls from 5th grade through senior year of high school. For 5th to 8th-grade girls, each state must institute classes based on the guidelines of the Women’s Self-Defense Institute the students will attend each year. These classes teach girls self-confidence, awareness of surroundings, risk assessment and character analysis of people they are around and those that try to come around. These classes would enable girls to engage in mental and physical preparedness.
Unfortunately, 25% of teen girls are victims of domestic violence creating long-term emotional effects of depression, suicide, and alcoholism. From 9th through 11th grade, states should be required to teach girls a seminar on violence against girls/women including domestic violence, sex trafficking and victimization of girls/women. These classes must incorporate role-playing of crimes including rape, domestic abuse (physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual), burglary, gang incidents, sex trafficking, and kidnapping. If we can teach many of these girls how having a baby will feel in a faux parenting class (required in many high schools) we should teach them to protect their life in other ways as well.
In one week of July 2019, five women were killed by gun violence in Mississippi in very dissimilar ways-from robberies to gang altercations to targeted murder. The common thread is women are not prepared for gun violence instances. Women’s social construction rarely includes going to the range on the weekends to learn to shoot guns. Fathers still normally take their boys. Women hunters may be increasing but it’s still not a norm. It’s definitely not the norm for urban women (where nearly half of the US population lives). Where can a girl learn to survive gun violence? At school.
By senior year, girls should have a one-semester class combining the self-defense and violence against girls seminar with an additional curriculum/activity on gun use, safety, and gun violence avoidance techniques. Girls must understand the functions of a gun as more women are shot to death in domestic violence than in other situations. Nearly 1 million American women alive today have been shot in a domestic violence incident. They’ll need to save their own lives. Let’s get them prepared to be packing.
American life is evolving, to your like or dislike. Gender norms are transfixing, switching and growing as they should be in a civilized society. Preparing girls to be women isn’t just how to wear their dress or bow to the gentlemen anymore-its about saving their own lives. Let’s help our future selves by implementing a wide array of self-defense knowledge and know-how across the gender spectrum. All of our lives depend upon it.