The viral hashtag #metoo has dominated social media feeds around the world. As I followed this story, I found myself feeling especially hopeless. The prevalence of sexual harassment and assault that women endure as a matter of course in patriarchy is no surprise to me.
I Can’t Stop It
I have received a triggering amount of sexual harassment myself in the last few weeks. It has come from passers-by on the street. It has come from co-workers. It has come from people who claim to be my friends.
My martial arts practice brings me some peace amid this common yet consuming struggle. The relationship I am developing with my own physicality gives me agency over my body. As a violence survivor with PTSD and as a woman in the USA, I need that.
Because I find my martial arts practice so empowering, I found myself especially upset after seeing #metoo posts from women who were sexually harassed or assaulted where they train martial arts. After a couple weeks of the hopeless feeling, I decided on a personal course of action.
What I Can Do
I’m compiling a comprehensive resource on where women can train in safety. I don’t want to give the airtime to the gyms and dojos that fail us as women. Rather, I want to give reliable information to all the women out there who deserve to find a better gym. The places that claim to teach self-defense yet allow or even encourage sexual harassment or sexual assault don’t deserve to have us there. They don’t deserve our money and they don’t deserve our representation for their teams.
Please use this Google Form to contribute information to the directory of inclusive training spaces. Please share the form with other women, so we can have as comprehensive of a list as possible.
Speaking out will not be all it takes to change the systems that normalize everyday abuse of women. Making this list available to everyone who needs it is just what I can do to help us in the right direction.
Rebecca encourages survivors of domestic to speak about their experiences and to lean on each other for support.