What’s Wrong With This Picture?
As a longtime instructor of classes and seminars in self-defense for women, I learned years ago that self-defense is a subject that many people feel they should learn, but few actually do. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with interested women who said, “Sign me up!” only to see them lose enthusiasm when the time came.
Self-defense is a touchy subject. It causes us to think about things we might rather ignore. Unfortunately, for human service workers, there are times when the subject simply cannot be ignored.
That is why I’m never surprised when I hear from a social or human service organization after a tragedy. There is something in all of us that wants to ignore the need for self-defense until it is clear that we have no choice.
I am aware of popular “self-defense” programs that seem to care more about decreasing the liability of the organization than in protecting the worker. They carry a “non-harming” approach so far that they ignore the need for front-line workers to practice dealing with a lethal threat.
Unfortunately, we know this happens. The deaths of Teri Zenner, Boni Frederick, Brenda Lee Yeager, and Marty Smith — among others — are sad testimonies to that fact.
We cannot wait for more tragedies. If you would like to join me in efforts to create state and national safety legislation for human service workers, please join my interest group.