Last week, my female friends and I were having a discussion on various forms of physical violence -- including gender-based violence and in particular, domestic violence. I must say it was a very heated discussion since we ended up in two groups.
Good thing though, both groups were against any form of violence. The only difference was that one group was advocating for serious self-defence during any violence while the other, which I was in, was advocating for ‘take off’. By this, I mean seeking refuge elsewhere at the sight of violence.
This got me thinking hard. Is there a need for self-defence when there’s an easy way out or should we just take to our heels as soon as we smell a physical fight? Personally, I have mastered the art of smelling a fight from a distance and walking away. There’s no way I can be caught in a physical confrontation unless of course it finds me off guard.
My friends were for the idea of fighting back even when caught off guard while I was for the idea of playing dead as I wait for the slightest opportunity to escape. Fighting back is good for self-defence but it can only work if you believe in your strength. I am tiny so if I try to fight anyone back, trust you me, I will be finished even before I am started. So I always dance to the attacker’s tune till I seize the opportunity to disappear.
I know it’s only human to try and fight back, but isn’t it risky especially if fighting back will bruise your attacker’s ego and make them hit you harder? I know the African man will be thinking you are trying to question his strength by fighting back and they will double it just to prove a point. Even the Bible says, a calm response soothes the soul. When caught in such a situation, don’t you think your reaction will determine the outcome of the violence? Better hurt a finger and walk away alive than put up a fight and leave in a casket. Especially if there’s an easy way out.
I am not telling anyone not to defend themselves in such situations. What I am trying to say is, your first reaction should be to escape. Self-defence should come in when escape is totally out of question. This is what we call fighting like a wounded lion. Ladies, don’t try to pick up a fight with the opposite sex if there’s a better way out. It will never end well.
I can tell you for sure that men are stronger than us. The way we throw a punch is not the way they will. Theirs comes all the way from within their stomachs, passes through their hearts, manoeuvres to their elbows via their shoulders and when they finally release it through their fists, it lands with so much force! On the other hand, we women throw punches even before we decide that we want to throw them such that by the time they land, it’s our fists that feel the pain instead. Then we spend the next minutes blowing cold air onto our fists as we try to massage them back to life. Our attackers take that chance to kick the hell out of us for throwing the punch.
Any kind of violence is so backward and we all should try and avoid it at all costs. To the men reading this, just because you were created stronger, do not find it in your heart to solve all disagreements violently. We have ears, just like you do. We have a brain the same design as yours, we can grasp and digest without getting physical. Your hands are meant to hold us, hug us and carry us to God-knows-where.
Women, I know we were blessed with powerful lungs and we don’t mind using them to shout at our men. Let’s know when to stop, let’s not invite a fight. I know sometimes these men push us to the wall and we lose it. My friend, only lose it when you have an escape route. Personally, you will never hear me yelling at a man behind locked doors. The paranoia in me cannot allow that. If you see me yelling, just know that my getaway ride is around the corner. Can we please find a better way of settling scores?
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