Taking a self defense class as a person with a visual impairment is one of the most empowering thing I have done in a long time.
I have been harassed on many levels in my life, I have been accosted in the street where everyone can see, I have been followed and grabbed and laughed at while it all happened. Yes, right here, in my beautiful country, I have had many female friends who have been accosted likewise and many male friends who have shrugged and suggested that we just don't go to those places.
Except sometimes those places are in the middle of the capital where you take the bus home.
Unfortunately, usually when I speak of this what I'm told is that this is normal. Even if I accept that it is normal to be publicly violated in my country I will never accept that it is right. Now by now you must know that I am a Christian and for me part of that Christianity means standing up and saying NO to something when I am presented with the notion that normality equates right.
I woke up very early to take that self defense class and one of the things I learned from itouch self defence is that those things, being harassed, leaves physical residual affects as well as the type you cannot see.
I had to be told so many times by my instructor to calm down, to go slowly, that this was practice so I need to be careful or I would mistakenly hurt someone. My reactions were involuntarily serious every time I had to conduct a mock exercise due to being involved in the real thing far too often.
I think every person should learn to defend themselves from assailants who society empowers through acceptance of their actions into thinking that they have a right to take security from others.
Taking a self defense class was one of the best things I did at the conference and I would do it again and again if given the opportunity. Then, I would teach it to my daughters because if I live in a world that tells me I should expect a man to hurt me, I will make it a world where I will know the quickest and most effective way to make him fail at it. Then, I will teach it to my daughters. Oh, and for the sake of equality let me say, that goes for if the world tells me that i should expect a woman to hurt me too. Unfortunately statistics are still in the majority of a male assailant and so are my experiences and the experiences of my loved ones.
Also, shout out to my male friends who have not averted their eyes when I have been accosted. Shout out to the ones who have said no when the notion has been suggested.Thank you for being part of the solution.
My trip to the NOAH Conference 2016 was made possible by sponsorship from: The Writers Association of Grenada, Kallalou Designs, The Office of the Prime Minister and various good Samaritans who insist upon not being named;their kindness clearly knows no bounds!