Julia took the beginning women’s self-defense class at UCSC. She shared this story in class and wrote it down for me.
“When I was seven years old I was in the second grade and my sister was in kindergarten. We lived just around the corner from the school we attended. On the other side of the back fence in our backyard was the school’s kindergarten playground. My mother would allow us to go play in this playground unattended because she could hear and talk to us from our backyard.
One day when my sister and I went to play we saw a male classmate of mine and his older brother playing in another playground. We said hello to them and went to the kindergarten playground. After a while the two boys came over to where my sister and I were playing. My classmate had been trying to kiss me during recess and after school for quite a while but I didn’t think he would try now because his brother and my sister were there. I was wrong.
The two boys came up to me, got me down onto the ground and held me there. My classmate held my hands down and tried to kiss me while his older brother straddled my legs and tried to pin me down. I struggled against them and was able to get my legs free enough to knee the older brother hard in the groin. He grabbed his crotch and rolled off of me groaning. I yelled for my mother’s boyfriend who was at our house at the time. He came to the back fence of our house and yelled, “Get off of her!” They ran away and my sister and I went home.”
This story is an example of defense against multiple attackers and a great example of the knee to the groin as part of ground defense. It is also an example of a young girl (Julia) defending herself against two boys. The assault was a sexual assault in that the reason they were holding her down was so that one of them could kiss her. These boys may not have intended to do her any more physical harm – but they COULD have. She was in imminent danger of serious bodily injury and within her legal right to fight back.
It is important for us, and all girls, to know that girls can be sexually assaulted by boys their age and older. We must not assume that because of their youth and relative small size, boys cannot do serious injury to another child- boy or girl, sibling or other child. I know of girls who have been sexually molested and raped by young boys. We must not be in denial about this reality. We must encourage girls to fight back and we must teach boys to be respectful of others.
This story makes me wonder….What could this assault have looked like if they were all teens? Where did these boys learn this behavior? Had they been similarly assaulted? Had they personally witnessed this type of power and control by a male over a female? How often had they seen this kind of behavior on television? Did they ever assault another female again or did they learn that girls are powerful and can hurt them if necessary? How can we teach boys to express their sexuality in appropriate and respectful ways? How many of us women lost this instinctual power to defend ourselves (that many of us had at the young age of seven) as we were conditioned to be “ladylike” and told we were physically helpless? By reading this handbook and these success stories now, are you regaining that sense of power and confidence to defend yourself?
It is important that we do not take these stories as formulas. I am not saying, “OK, if this ever happens to you just do exactly what she did and all will be well.” What I hope is that by knowing these stories we can all learn to trust our instincts and intuition better and not let the rational, conscious mind interfere. Also, knowing basic aspects of the psychology of the attacker, we can consciously use that knowledge in our self-defense. For example, we can consciously choose to do something that is unexpected knowing this can be a very effective strategy.