Thursday, June 12, 2014

Our education programs go beyond "self defense"

There is a battle being waged on the internet about personal safety.

Some people commenting on the issue of personal safety mock the idea that there is any validity to the practice of teaching relationship skills and respect for personal boundaries and for working to transform social attitudes towards victimization of children and adults.

These folks often view physical skills as the beginning and end of personal safety, and the solution to abduction, abuse, bullying, and exploitation.

While we teach violence resistance concepts and techniques in our classes, we also begin our education with the very young and teach children to recognize problem behaviors to trigger a protective response BEFORE there is a need to hit, kick, bite and scratch to get away.

This should in no way be taken as a pacifistic view of victimization, or that we don't advise fighting back when in immediate danger.

The National Center for Missing And Exploited Children (NCMEC) collected statistics;

Of the attempted abductions that had a known outcome of how the child escaped the suspect:
  • 51 percent involved children walking or running away from the suspect with no physical contact.
  • 32 percent involved children reporting some type of reaction such as yelling, kicking, pulling away or attracting attention.
  • 17 percent involved either a parent or another individual rescuing the child."
Our educational programs empower children to access ALL of these successful strategies, not just kicking and punching.
We help them practice responses that will make them safer from the very beginning of an approach by someone who might hurt them (while still behaving in socially appropriate ways towards people who won't hurt them).

Additionally, we introduce the concept that everybody deserves to be safe and respected.  So, just as we empower children to stand up for themselves and defend themselves if necessary, we also reinforce the idea that they should respect the rights of others.

Some will say that it is foolish to believe that we can have an effect by teaching children not to hurt others or disrespect them, or make them feel unsafe.

We believe, however, that the more children we teach to respect the rights of others at the same time that we teach them to stand up for themselves and make safer choices at every point in their interactions with others, the less need there will be for violent resistance to violence.

Our message is complete, empowering and pro-social. Instead of "not me" we teach that nobody should be victimized, ever.

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