Consent is Sexy. {Colorado Event}

Via on May 17, 2012

Violence is not.

Women, we need to to empower ourselves with education, awareness, and developing a skill set that will (if the situation allows) ward off an attacker and escape a potentially life threatening situation.

My Dad taught me how to do my taxes, how to home brew beer, how to shoot a gun, how to install tile and check if a truck’s 4-wheel-drive works before buying it. He taught me how to train a dog to bark at the door with a hand gesture and how to camp.  But, Pop, you did not teach me how to defend myself from an attacker, without the use of a firearm.

I did Krav Maga for two years and still did not feel confident that I would protect myself. I knew I could physically injure someone, severely but when push came to shove. Would I?

It only took one time, one moment of being grabbed and pulled backward and in that moment I had no doubt I would not submit. I gave myself an out. I had no fear and no reluctance to inflict injury to a person threatening my person. I had training that empowered me and I continue to learn.

Learning to defend myself was and is of utmost importance. When screaming, saying no, and ultimately submitting may feel the only options to maintain safety, if we learn skills to give a moment, a fleeting moment to escape – that is all we need.

Every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. Every two minutes. Think about this. It is unfathomable. Every two minutes a woman is brutalized.

Stop the cycle of abuse, regain your power and do not submit to violence.

Sunday June 3, 2012 Women’s Empowerment Workshop for Self Defense. Details here.

This workshop will teach you how to add a few tricks to your arsenal to create a moment of escape.

You are not aiming to get into a full on toe to toe match with man, sorry ladies unless you are Gina Carano you are going to lose.

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No matter how bad ass you are, men are usually stronger and the physical strength they have coupled with height and weight puts them at an advantage and we must teach ourselves tricks to create a momentary pause, a brief enough glimpse to bolt away.

My goal is to be half as badass as Gina Carano.

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Society must learn that women are not sluts for choosing to dress in any way they choose and it is not an invitation for a man to assault. You are not allowed to touch, punch, hit, grope, grab, throw, tear, punch, slap, restrain or forcibly have sex with another human being, unless you are defending yourself and then punch away.

Photo: Me

Women are allowed to be sexual. We are allowed to be passionate. We can express healthy desires and welcome safe, consenting partners. Being sexual does not equate a man having the right to physically intimidate or coerce you into a position that you are not comfortable with. If a man pulls out his penis and it is uninvited and you said no. Feel free to kick him in the balls and punch him in the throat. Guarantee what he plans to do to you is going to be physically and psychologically more damaging than that elbow you throw. Do not hesitate to protect yourself and get away.

My dear friend Brian “Seraiah” Wood—has been offering Women’s Empowerment Workshops and I had the opportunity to take one recently. I have been training with Brian in Mixed Martial Arts but this is the first time I have seen him coaching a group of women and I was impressed enough to want to create another for my community. Brian teaches fundamentals of escape not engaging. This is the key.

The next workshop will be held on Sunday June 3rd, 2012 from 2-4 pm. 303 Training Center in Westminster, Colorado – centrally located between Denver and Boulder. Give yourself a gift of peace of mind. Even learning one thing could save you from an assault.

The goal is to get away. To not be victimized.

Rape and sexual assault are about power and dominance; they are not about sex and certainly not about feelings of love and/or affection. Rape is a hate crime based on gender, power and control.

Acquaintance Rape / Date Rape 

When a person knows his/her attacker (partner, family member, doctor, neighbor, co-worker, etc.) it is considered an “acquaintance rape.” Because of the personal connection to the perpetrator, the survivor may not classify what has happened as rape. Acquaintance rapes account for more than 75% of all reported rapes.

Coercion 

Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation to persuade someone to something they may not want to do—like being sexual or performing certain sexual acts.  Examples of some coercive statements include: “If you love me you would have sex with me,” “If you don’t have sex with me I will find someone who will,” and “I’m not sure I can be with someone who doesn’t want to have sex with me.”  Coercive statements are often part of many campus acquaintance rapes.  Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting to having sex and is considered rape/sexual assault.

Consent 
Consent is clear permission between intimate partners that what they are doing is okay and safe.  To consent to something—like being sexual—means you confidently agree to do it based on your own free will without any influence or pressure.

Survivor 

This term—used throughout this document—is used in place of “victim” to describe someone who has survived sexual abuse or assault. The term “survivor” honors and empowers the strength of an individual to heal.

Rape myths are beliefs about sexual assault that wrought with problems. Some myths are just completely and blatantly untrue. What often happens is that beliefs surrounding circumstances, situations, and characteristics of individuals connected to rape are applied to all cases and situations uncritically. Myths exist for many historic reasons which include inherited structural conditions, gender role expectations, and the fundamental exercise of power in a patriarchal society. The best way to approach rape myths are to confront them honestly and frankly. Don’t deny their existence and don’t dismiss one ungrounded statement with another.

>Myth: Rape is sex. Fact: Rape is  an act of violence. One out of every eight adult women has been a victim of forcible rape. (National Victim Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center) While sexual attraction may be influential, power, control and anger are the primary motives. Most rapists have access to a sexual partner. Gratification comes from gaining power and control and discharging anger. This gratification is only temporary, so the rapist seeks another victim.

>Myth: Women incite men to rape. Fact: Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned. Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone. Women, children and men of every age, physical type and demeanor are raped. Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape.

>Myth: Sexual assault is an impulsive, spontaneous act. Fact: Most rapes are carefully planned by the rapist. A rapist will rape again and again, usually in the same area of town and in the same way.

>Myth: Rape is a crime of passion. Fact: Rape is an act of violence, not passion. it is an attempt to hurt and humiliate, using sex as the weapon.

>Myth: If a person doesn’t “fight back” she/he wasn’t really raped. Fact: Rape is potentially life-threatening. Whatever a person does to survive the assault is the appropriate action.

Not all violent crime against women is sexual. An average of  1,181 women are murdered by an intimate partner each year.1 That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.2

Domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner.3 According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.4 Less than 20 percent of battered women sought medical treatment following an injury.5

According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, which includes crimes that were not reported to the police, 232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006. That’s more than 600 women every day.6 Other estimates, such as those generated by the FBI, are much lower because they rely on data from law enforcement agencies. A significant number of crimes are never even reported for reasons that include the victim’s feeling that nothing can/will be done and the personal nature of the incident.7

Take back your power and be confident that you can protect yourself.

1Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Homicide Victims by Gender

2Bureau of Justice Statistics, There has been a decline in homicide of intimates, especially male victims

3Deptartment of Justice, About Domestic Violence

4Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Understanding Intimate Partner Violence (PDF)

5National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), Domestic Violence Facts (PDF)

6Bureau of Justice Statistics (table 2, page 15), Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2006 Statistical Tables

7US Census Bureau (page 12), National Crime Victimization Survey (PDF)

About Jamie Squires

Jamie Squires originally from Mobile, Alabama and lives in Boulder, Colorado. Mother, sister, daughter, friend. Photographer. Yogi. Writer. Living with Lupus and celebrating life after cancer. Lover of the written word. She get the giggles..She is generous with her spirit and laughter. Tends to make excessively long lists. Drinks Irish beer. Hates wearing shoes. Is passionate. Jamie is covered in ink. Loves cheese. It doesn’t interest her what you do for a living, she want to know what your dreams are. You find her portfolio at JamieSquires.com and "like" her on Facebook.

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2 Responses to “Consent is Sexy. {Colorado Event}”

  1. Olga says:

    Thanks Jamie, great article! Very informative and powerful, wish I was in Colorado for your workshop! Keep educatin' us!!!

  2. [...] guard was down, partially because I’ve lived in the city for 11 years, and never had an issue with violence. I was texting a friend, and didn’t notice the young man running up behind me [...]

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