How To Take Ownership of Your Safety In The Year of The Woman

This is as good a time as any to take ownership of our safety. There’s much abuzz these past few months about the treatment meted out to women. But why all of a sudden the interest in women’s rights?

In December 2017, CNN dubbed 2018 the year of the woman, and this article by Marianne Schnall cited that, “Beginning with the inauguration of Donald Trump, the year saw an escalation of the Republican Party’s attacks on women, including efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, undermine women’s legal and reproductive rights and slash essential health benefits.”

We clearly had a lot stacked against us in 2017, hence the continuing revolution throughout the year. The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on January 21, to advocate legislation and policies regarding human rights and other issues, including women’s rights, immigration reform, healthcare reform, reproductive rights, the natural environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, and workers’ rights. Since then we’ve seen the #MeToo movement and the #TimesUp campaign pushing for an end to abuse, and bringing the men responsible for the continued abuse of women to the forefront.

2018 is certainly living up to be just that – The Year of The Woman! 

Guess what?! I am here for all of it! Tea with everything. As a feminist, womanist, I am interested in championing the rights of all of the above, but I am most interested in championing the causes of women who are not seen or heard. The women like you and me, who have no high profile connects or financial backing to pursue causes of grievances against us.

This month, in celebration of Sexual Assault Awareness month, I chatted with Criminologist, Dr. L. J. Samuel on the last episode of Hard Talk with Mell about building resilience through self-defense. She shared her experience working with victims of abuse and some valuable ways in which they rebuild their resiliency and take ownership of their safety. She says more self-care and self-defense! We discussed certain topics such as interpersonal violence (intimate partner violence, domestic violence or battering, is a pattern of behavior used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation, often including the threat or use of violence), and street harassment; what different scenarios looked like for each one and where legislation is heading. She explained that overall we honestly need to educate our teens on proper interaction with each other.

Did you know that touching is a crime and you can be arrested and charged, even if you it was seemingly innocent? Keep your hands to yourself!

She also warned that:

1). We should be more aware of red flags in our dating relationships – name calling which escalates to emotional and physical abuse; stalking behaviors

2). Our family and friends also need to be aware and we should have tough conversations with them on how we protect ourselves; set rules for intervention.

3). We should be more responsible when we go out and NEVER leave our friend(s) alone. The general rule should be if we arrive together, we leave together.

Dr. Samuel is the Founder of the Cupid’s Sting Non-Profit Organization in Washington DC, that provides self-defesnse workshops and life-saving skills to create a safer and healthier environment for families, students, employees, and neighbors in the area and beyond. Essentially, this is a space for women to say and do whatever they want!

Listen to our entire conversation below.

So how can you infuse more self-care to ensure your safety? Here are some quick creative ways you can take ownership of your safety:

  • Safety in your home – what measures do you have in place to help you in a crisis?
  • Who can you trust to keep you safe – who can you call in case of an emergency?
  • Safety when you’re outside – are you aware of your surroundings at all times?
  • Situations to avoid – walking/jogging down deserted streets at night; getting into cars with strangers
  • When to call for law enforcement backup
  • Recognizing chronic stress – Is your relationship emotionally charged?
  • Identifying your support system – who do you have in your immediate network to act on your behalf?

These are all precautions we barely consider, but we should.

My women’s collective, All About The Sisters will be working intimately with Dr. Samuel in the future as we educate women on best self-care, self-defense practices. Sign up HERE to join our tribe as we promote self-care in everything we do!

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