the principal at my school made an announcement yesterday that the girls need to start covering up and then i found this in the hallway
One of the greatest gaps I’ve encountered in counter-violence education is that of the legal and ethical considerations involved. This is, to be blunt, negligent on the part of instructors/providers. This post will reflect some of the information we provide in class-day discussion as well as our printed materials.
What is “Self-Defence?”
The first point we cover in any program we offer is the definition of the term, “self-defence.” One of the best definitions provided by a participant was, “A set of verbal, physical, and other skills employed in the face of confrontation.” As comprehensive as this definition is, it isn’t the best one to use when looking at interpersonal violence. “Self-defence” is, first and foremost, an answer to a charge under the Criminal Code of Canada (“The Code”) or the laws of your jurisdiction. That charge may be anything from destruction of property (Mischief, Section 430), Breaking and Entering (Section 348), Trespassing (Section 177), or Theft (Section 322), all the way to Assault (Sections 264 - 269), or even Manslaughter (Section 236) or Murder (Section 229). This is not a plea of “Not guilty,” it’s more of a “Guilty, but…” That is to say, you are admitting to having done something that would normally be considered a (sometimes indictable) offence, but, once you’ve explained the circumstances, you believe the judge/jury will agree you had no other choice but to act in an otherwise illegal way. If you’re unable to convince the court your actions were justified, you will be found guilty of the crime with which you’ve been charged and subject to whatever punishment is considered appropriate.
Restraint Related Sudden Death
For the lay-person, discussion of “self-defence” often invokes thoughts of fancy throws, takedowns, escaping from wrist-grabs and other holds, as well as containing aggressors with elaborate restraining techniques à la the mixed martial arts. While any of these things could be fun to learn, they have a very narrow-to-non-existent context of application within the realm of interpersonal violence. The average person is much better served by techniques that will allow for escape, rather than for a prolonged or close-quarters interaction with an aggressive individual that may result in someone dying. In fact, we will typically only teach restraints for the purpose of counter-violence to those who will be employed in what are considered “use-of-force” positions - that is to say, law-enforcement, military, health-care, and related fields.
In recent years, a great deal of attention has been placed on what has been termed as Restraint-Related Sudden Death (RRSD). The most common cause of these fatalities is, arguably, asphyxiation. There are many theories about who might become victim to restraint asphyxia/positional asphyxiation, including the notion that one who is suffering from “excited delirium” is more susceptible to RRSD than one who is calm. The reality is, we would not likely find ourselves in a position of defending against a calm person. Nor would we typically find ourselves with the resources to effectively determine whether someone is suffering from the controversial diagnosis of “excited delirium.”
While a great many factors may prove to be involved in restraint asphyxia such as exposure to certain toxins, medications, illicit drugs, behavioural disorders, organic disease, and delirium from environmental & situational causes, the common denominators tend to include a combination of exhaustion, exertion, fear, and restricted breathing or blood-flow due to restraint or other force. While there is no guaranteed safe way of restraining an individual - just as there is no safe way of striking an individual - there are methods which are considered to be extremely dangerous and others which are considered to be less so.
Of the dangerous and therefor to-be-avoided methods are any prone (face-down) restraint or any restraint which mimics a prone restraint, i.e. a restraint that presses the anterior side (front) of the body against any surface, be it the ground, a wall, a desk, or even another person. Also to be avoided are methods of restraint that involve pressure on the neck or throat, or cause manipulation of the head. These restraints can cause damage not only to the airway, but to the spinal column, carotid arteries, and nervous processes, leading to severe injury or even death.
When faced with an acute behavioural disturbance that may result in physical altercation, one must already be prepared to employ their best options first. These options include attempts to calm the individual in question, tactical withdrawal, and a call for more -or more appropriate- resources, to name a few.
Any use of force should only be employed with the realization that someone may die as a result. Prior to laying hands on an individual for the purpose of restraining them, be sure of your motivation: Are they a risk to themselves or others or are they merely rude and uncooperative? Reference to professional policy and protocol may also be required: Is there a mandate you are not to be involved in physical restraint? If there is no protocol or policy and related training that addresses use of force or physical restraint, or the current model is insufficient, it is in your best interest to be proactive and motivate those in charge to address this very serious matter effectively.
This Isn’t An Episode of Law & Order
Professional use of force and self-defense are only slightly different things, but the main underlying difference is that one is employed by someone already in a position of authority, while the other is employed by any person when they or someone in their care is in danger. It is more than noteworthy that while professional use of force is subject to policy and protocol, any use of force is a matter of law.
According to the Criminal Code of Canada (sections 34 and 35) one has the right to defend oneself, but as with any right there are certain associated responsibilities.
Before undertaking any physically violent means of self-protection, it is prudent to ask yourself the same question regarding your adversary mentioned above: Are you or someone for whom you are in a legal position of care at risk? When one employs physical means to defend oneself, there is an assumption of criminal responsibility for any excessive force used.
It is important to remember that while having training in physical self defense may save your life or the life of another, it may prove useless if you ignore the non-physical and preventative measure training you have received. Physical self defense is not about being tough, it’s about having additional options should a situation deteriorate to the point of needing physical intervention. After all, you wouldn’t encourage someone to mismanage their medical condition because you’ve got training that may save their life, nor should you neglect to recognize, avoid, or defuse a situation just because you know some methods that may save your life in the event things become physically violent.
The moment of violence is not the appropriate time to address questions like “Did I do all I could to prevent this?” “Did I attempt to retreat to a safe distance?” “Am I using only the force that could be considered reasonable under the circumstances?” These issues must be dealt with ahead of time in order to best deal with potential professional, legal and personal repercussions.
Even if one does “everything right” according to policy, protocol, training, and law, there is always the possibility the result will not be what was expected. We may find ourselves facing legal action or professional review despite having adhered to a very high standard, and these issues may demand a great deal of time and energy before being worked out. Similarly, post-incident we may find ourselves coping in a much different way than expected or previously experienced. Even in a situation where you are completely justified in the use of force, you may find yourself second-guessing decisions and actions.
One piece of rhetoric I often hear from instructors and practitioners alike is, “Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six,” referring to a jury as opposed to pallbearers. That’s fine, however I would rather avoid all 18 of these people if at all possible, since none of them is likely to impact my life in a positive way. Any time force is used against another person, someone can die. A trial, no matter how successful the verdict may seem, can result in bankruptcy due to legal bills, loss of the family home or other property in an attempt to meet those same costs, loss of employment, loss of relationships (even familial), health problems including depression and the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Critical Incident Stress, and a pathological reliving of the events that led to the charges being filed. Additionally, all of this assumes it’s the other person who dies - not you. All in all, it would be prudent to avoid the use of force if at all possible. Since avoidance isn’t always an option, it’s best to understand what your next and best options are, as well as what the results of employing any option may be.
In order to best deal with critical incidents and the resultant stress, support systems should be in place prior to an incident occurring. These can take many forms, such as personal and religious counsellors, reliable personal confidantes and trusted co-workers, but should most certainly be available in the form of outreach provided with the support of the employer. Critical Incident Stress can be career-ending if not effectively handled. For this reason, you are encouraged to seek or review education regarding recognizing and responding to psychological emergencies, maintaining your health & well-being, and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (all of which are available through TheBestDefenseProgram.com).
What comes to mind when you hear the term, “self-defence?”
“Alleged” is used to cover the ass of the media and those who must consider the facts of a case. By using this word, we are allowing the accused to remain “innocent until proven guilty,” a protected right, so the person who has been accused is alleged to have committed the violation. This has no bearing on whether or not the violation took place, only on whether or not the accused is guilty. Since victimization is determined by the one who suffers a violation, we should not be saying “alleged rape victim,” or “alleged assault victim,” and media has no business doing so. When we use the word to describe a victim, we instil doubt in the mind of the listener/reader as to whether or not a violation has occurred. Let’s stop doing that. Let’s start believing the victim; it harms nobody if we use “alleged” to describe only the accused, and it extends the “innocent until proven guilty” right to everyone involved.
A+++ rant from Kate Harding on the MRA movement and how it’s not actually about the real issues men face, but about putting feminists in their place.
(originally appeared on Jezebel)
I was asked a question:
You keep saying you’re not a ‘women’s self defence’ instructor. Why not?
Simply put, “Women’s Self-Defence” can be one of two things: it can be a women-only safer-space, in which case I am not allowed to be there, or it can be a contribution to rape culture; a perpetuation of a system wherein men get to set rules for women in order for women to remain safe from sexual assault (the efficacy of those rules being disputable).
Now, that isn’t to say I cannot teach women -I most certainly can, and do- or that I cannot address issues that disproportionately affect women, like sexual assault. It’s important I do it in ways that recognize a few key realities:
1) I, as a man, cannot occupy a women-only safer space.
2) Power-hoarding on the part of men contributes to all spaces being unwelcoming and unsafe.
3) Men have the most power in preventing sexual assault because we are the ones who harbour the offenders.
4) While I would never tell anyone to do something they don’t feel safe doing, most of the “advice” being trotted out to women is victim-blaming in nature, tends to be either ineffective or outright *damaging,* and should be demystified and debunked.
5) All risk-reductive strategies should be evidence-based and supported, not just a list of “alwayses and nevers.”
Beyond that, the law is the law, movement is movement, and counter-violence is counter-violence – it really doesn’t need to be gendered in order to be effective.
Now, I have a question for you:
What are some ways men can make spaces safer and more inviting for women?
Objectification is focusing on a person’s usefulness to you with total disregard for their desires. In the context of compliments, it’s not saying “You turn me on.” It’s saying “You turn me on, and whether you want to turn me on is utterly irrelevant.”
Saying “nice ass” to a person who’s deliberately wiggling their ass at you is a compliment; saying “nice ass” to a person who’s just walking by is objectification. “I want to sleep with her” is expressing desire; “I’d hit it” is objectification. “You’re sexy” is nice to say on a date because it’s a compliment; “you’re sexy” is hideously undermining to say at a business meeting because it’s objectification.
Doing it right.
we need more of this in the world
- Wear a blindfold. It’s much more difficult to harass someone when you can’t see them.
- Gag yourself with an old sock. It can’t be worse than having to hear you say “baby” one more time.
- Carry a weapon. Use it on yourself if you feel like you’re going to harass someone.
AHHHH MY LAST RELATIONSHIP EEEEK HELLO
This is actually my parents.