Thursday, January 24, 2019

Re: Creepy Hug Defenses for Every Woman

There is no one way to say NO. However it's said, it must be abundantly clear, and repeated as many times as it takes. Body language, facial expression, and speech must be in clear agreement.

This video is alarming, as it should be. It's presented in a positive, sterile-white background, but the subject matter is red-light serious. We shouldn't need videos like this; but since we do, here we are, and it begs for discussion on a hundred levels.

Source: GracieBreakdown, YouTube

NO takes three steps:
  1. Person 1 crosses a physical or social boundary (or almost does).
  2. Person 2 indicates NO through clear body language and/or words that point out the boundary.
  3. Person 1 adjusts their behaviour accordingly.

Saying NO doesn't have to be loud or aggressive, it needs to be clear.

Whose responsibility is it to teach NO?
Can I live with it if I let him take a feel so I can go on with my day? If I say NO I can protect myself, but without addressing it directly, he may go on to do the same thing to others Can I do anything to stop him, and what will it take out of me to fight that battle?

Saying NO is risky and that sucks.
A woman* may be accused of overreacting, misreading. What's worse, it can be dangerous to say no. That danger may be physical, psychological, social, political, and on. It can cost her job and even her future job prospects, and that sucks. She is forced to choose: would she rather live staving off the psychological impact of covert (or overt) sexual assault? Or, would she prefer to live with the social implications of her NO being ignored, or blown out of proportion, to the detriment of her future, safety, and livelihood? That sucks. That's a shit choice.

In the #MeToo movement women come out of the woodwork once an assailant has been exposed. These women have missed thousands of opportunities to protect themselves and others, until one finally did speak up to expose the abuser, often at the cost of her own reputation and/or livelihood.

NO vs. "Yes, but...." 
Several of the video's defenses lack a transfer of psychological power, a posturing of NO. The examples appear to say, "yes, but", as in, "Yes, we can take a selfie, but you can't touch my butt." This doesn't address the fact that groping is wrong and it allows the social interaction to continue after a deliberate action had to be taken to prevent sexual assault. She protected herself, but if he tried to grope her, he will do it to others.

Having to step backward twice to avoid a hug is unacceptable. In the video she verbalized, "I prefer handshakes" and he stopped, this is another clear NO and a desirable outcome for her, but  

Having to keep elbowing someone's arm so they don't grope you is unacceptable.
The hugger has either ignored or not gotten the message. The onus is on the woman to react in self-defense. If not, she must live with the humiliation or learn to block it out. She must to continue self-defense until it stops by stepping away or verbalizing, "hands off." 

Everyone has limits but not everyone knows what they are. 
Eventually the woman in the video gets fed up and takes the man to the ground. Deciding when and how to react takes practice. Every situation is different and quick thinking is always best aided by prior practice.

These are just some preliminary thoughts, but a thousand more come to mind. 

Know your limits and options before you need them, and hopefully you never will.
Take a self-defense seminar course, even if you don't plan to join a martial arts school. Make decisions when you have time to think them through in a seminar, instead of on the fly in an awkward social situation.

*woman, or man, or anybody in between. As the video intended the audience to be "every woman" I addressed it that way.


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