In light of the Stanford Rape Case, I have some thoughts that I’d like to pen to paper.
First of all, it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting, all of it. I cried my way through Emily Doe’s letter to Brock Turner, because I am disgusted that she had to endure this. I’m disgusted at the trials, at his sentencing, at the stank of white, male privilege that permeates this whole case like the disgusting expensive cologne his equally despicable father wears when he goes golfing at his high end, all-exclusive white-men-only country club.
Equally terrifying and equally disgusting, is the fact that this is not the first time. This is not the first time some “elite all-star athlete” with rich yuppy white parents has gotten a milder sentencing for a rape case. Remember those boys that raped a girl at a party and caught it on video? In Steubenville? Football players, and each boy spent under two years in prison – one a palsy 10 months, and the other 22 months.
This is not the first time. And sure as shit it won’t be the last. Horrifying. Disgusting.
I won’t berate my audience with the trending offense from people sympathizing with Emily. While I agree: Brock’s father is a pig, Brock’s punishment is too lenient, Emily has been dehumanized in the headlines (we don’t even know her name…), Brock using alcohol has an excuse – these are not the topics that have me thinking about this case.
I’m thinking about this case – and all the other ones – because I am a martial artist.
As a martial artist, I’m constantly trying to leave my imprint on this world, constantly trying to leave behind a legacy. As a female martial artist, I have the opportunity to leave a profound impact, because I represent the minority. I represent the nameless Emilys and Jane Does, the rape victims and the potential-rape victims. I represent those who don’t want to become simply another statistic.
I want to teach self-defense classes, because I believe that self defense classes coming from a female instructor, the “weaker sex” has a more profound impact that receiving self-defense classes from big hulking male martial arts instructors or police officers or military men.
Notice, however, that I didn’t say “I want to teach a women’s self defense class”. Because that’s not what I want.
I certainly want to start with the ladies, because there’s a need. But – forgive me, girls – it’s not just about you. It’s not enough to teach all my girls to wear bullet proofs vests if I don’t start to reach out to the BOYS and teach them to unload their damn guns and stop shooting.
I want to teach the ladies to defend themselves, yes. I want to prevent them from becoming another statistic. I want to teach them how to be strong and confident, and to go through their lives seeing the beauty and strength that is their bodies, and to see the beauty and strength in others.
Would self defense have helped Emily in this situation? Or that young girl in Steubenville?
Because alcohol was involved and at some point, your brain and your body just simply stop communicating and cooperating with each other.
Does that mean Emily shouldn’t have gone out drinking? Should she have stayed home and not gone out for a good time? Absolutely not.
My point here is that… I want to reach out to the men too. I want to teach women’s self defense AND men’s self defense. I want to teach the men how to help the women that can’t help themselves, teach them to stand up to each other and go “bro, that’s not cool. Let’s get her home safe.” I want them to understand how to check in with someone, to understand exactly what is consent, and how to give it and how to ask for it, and how to check in with their pals to make sure their bros got consent from their lady before they go get kinky in a closet at a party. I want to teach them how to intervene if they see some assholes being dickish to some drunk girl at a party.
I want to teach them to defend themselves, so they also don’t become victims of rape too. Because rape isn’t about the sex. It’s about the power and the privilege of being able to take and have whatever the hell you want and know that you won’t be punished for it. And that’s disgusting.
And it’s just the reason why we need women’s AND MEN’S self defense.
Because women and men need to know how to help each other, how to be heroes in someone else’s story. Because after I’ve taught all my girls how to wear bullet proof vests, I want to slowly and steadily reach out to all the men and teach them how to dismantle their guns and end the rape culture.
Because maybe, if I’d been there to teach it, some guy at that frat party might’ve seen Emily leave, and he might’ve been able to walk her safely home. Maybe some other guy could’ve yanked Brock away from her and said “she’s a mess, leave her alone,” and got Emily in touch with her sister that night.
Because maybe, in some roundabout way, I could’ve prevented this. By teaching.
And maybe, in some way, I can prevent the next one.
It’s not enough to teach our ladies to be safe. We have to teach our men to become proactive. And I think that message is more powerful coming from a female martial artist.
This will be my legacy in martial arts. So that someday, there are no more Emilys and Brocks.