CP Editorial: A call for women to fight back

For most college students BYOB, implies bringing your own booze to a loud gathering filled with red solo cups and hazy memories.  “Be your own badass” was actually the slogan of the 2013 Girls Fight Back self-defense program. Since its inception in 2001, more than 1 million women have seen this self-defense presentation. Bree Schwartz conducts the workshop and teaches women that they are their own best protector. She shows participants how to use physical and emotional boundaries to boost confidence. So why aren’t more women fighting back?

Women must believe in themselves before they can stand up for themselves. I consider there to be two main factors preventing women from having confidence in their self-defense abilities.

Schwartz said 90 percent of women know their assaulter. But, many may be afraid to turn in someone they know such as a friend, neighbor or even relative. Additionally, Schwartz said 55 percent of victims have been drinking prior to an assault. When alcohol is involved, lines become blurred and some women may even blame themselves.

The New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault estimates that 3 percent of college women will experience sexual assault before graduation. Yet, 95 percent of college assaults go unreported, most likely because of the two common sexual assault conditions.

So how do women overcome these issues? It is not an easy task, especially alone, but MU campus resources can help. The Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center created the red/green dot system to end campus violence. According to RSVP, red dots indicate a rape, hit, threat or a statement that supports violence.  When any of these occur, a red dot appears on a campus map.

Green dots are any behavior, choice, word or attitude that promotes safety.  This includes removing a friend from a bad situation or writing a paper about violence prevention.

A green dot’s purpose is to outshine red dots on the campus map. However, violence is not just an MU issue; this is a far-reaching problem. NJCASA statistics hold true for all college campuses. Everyone should strive to spread green dots and make a positive impact everywhere.

The MU Police Department also has a self-defense program specifically designed for women, Rape Aggression Defense. Free classes are available throughout the year for females older than 11 through an online registration form.

Students can also find a confidence boost at the Mizzou Rec Center knockout class. This is a combination of bodyweight drills and kickboxing segments that heighten your body to peak condition. Classes are offered Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 3 -3:50 p.m.

Women’s safety is an obtainable goal, but cannot be reached alone. Together, women need to stand up for one other. Add more green dots to the world. Boost your confidence by taking a self-defense class. Do not be a statistic; do something.

Elizabeth Johnson

About the Author Elizabeth Johnson

I am pursuing a degree in science and agricultural journalism with an emphasis in agricultural marketing. I hope to work in corporate public relations post graduation. I have a passion for communications and anything and everything Mizzou. My dad is a CAFNR alumnus with a degree in agricultural economics, and my mom graduated from the College of Education. Both of my parents grew up on family operated farms and in rural agricultural communities. This was the main factor in my decision to pursue a degree from CAFNR. I wrote for Corner Post during Fall 2013 and had no writing experience prior to that. I now have a new appreciation for investigative journalism and am excited to continue practicing it.