I participated in a workshop focusing on rape and self defense run by Kerry Buchan in October 2016. We looked at personal space, and the right to be assertive while protecting our boundaries. We also learned the importance of intuition, and how to defend ourselves if we were attacked.
I didn’t realize how helpful this would prove to be. Earlier this year, I encountered a man in a subway who intruded on my personal space, ordered me to sit down and who became very aggressive. I intuitively knew I needed to get away. I calmly told him that I would not sit down, but that I was going to be leaving because I felt uncomfortable. From the workshop I knew the importance of being assertive. I felt I could turn my back on him because I could defend myself if I needed to.
Surprisingly, my assertiveness shocked this man, which gave me the few seconds I needed to run away. I escaped unharmed. The man did tell me that I couldn’t leave, but he didn’t make any move to stop me. The teachings from the workshop helped me to feel level headed and in control through a challenging situation.
I believe that before I had done the workshop, I would have been anxious not to threaten this man, and might have tried to calm and soothe him. I now believe this might have made me an easier target. I used to believe that assertiveness would increase the aggression within a perpetrator, because it would increase his need for control. I no longer think this.
I would recommend Kerry’s workshop to any woman who would like to increase her own knowledge of how to defend herself in a dangerous situation. Although crime prevention should ultimately focus on the need to work towards a safer society, knowing that you can defend yourself means being able to protect yourself from the very real dangers that do sometimes exist. For me, this gave a sense of dignity and choice to a potentially traumatic situation.