Just saw this BBC story about fighting, quite literally, sexual harassment in Egypt. Could not be more impressed. Karate is a good step forward, and this sort of thing makes me want to re-inroll in tae kwan do here in Amman. Of course, some attackers escalate to violence when the woman pushes back, we all know this. It happened to me when I was a child and unable to defend myself, but I do not regret saying “no” at the time, though it has taken me a while to recognize my “no” as something important; it was defiance that not even my attacker could negate, even though he probably came close to actually killing me.
I don’t think there are any easy choices one can make when one is attacked. Each situation is compounded by specific factors, and in each one, you must make a split-second decision that can change the entire outcome. This is something I will never get tired of repeating on this blog – one of the worst things about being attacked is that you can never do anything right, according to society. If you acquiesced, it means you should have fought harder. If you fought, you should have acquiesced.
But being able to fight back is important regardless of outcome. Until global society begins to recognize these occurences as profoundly wrong, as opposed to something that women “like” or else “invite,” our level of safety will not significantly increase. My philosophy, inasmuch as I am prepared to have a philosophy on this one, is that we need to take what we can get. This is why I’m down with dusting off that martial arts uniform.