July 25, 2005

More Eye-Gouging, Please

As Jessica of Feministing reminds us, the Senate hearings have already started on the Violence Against Women Act, which certainly deserves to be reauthorized. From a policy perspective, though, I wonder if anyone has looked into spending public resources on teaching women self-defense against sexual assault. Currently, VAWA only funds "educational" programs, which are fine and important, but why not self-defense? And why not start in elementary school rather than junior high? As best I can tell, studies seem to suggest that "women who use physical and verbal resistance strategies are more likely to avoid the completion of a rape" (without increasing the chance of physical harm), though much of the data is fairly ambiguous, simply because no one's looked into the matter in-depth, or done the proper longitudinal studies. But they should. If teaching women to crush windpipes and gouge out eyes in junior high is something we really ought to be doing, I see no reason why Congress can't fund it.
-- Brad Plumer 4:16 PM || ||