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Spotlight

Self Defense in the #MeToo Movement

February 16, 2019
Yakirah Mitchel

Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

“The #MeToo movement has become very prevalent...it is important to understand that these issues have been going on for a long time, and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon,” says Abby Cutler, a senior from Liberty Region, and one of the teens leading this Showcase program. The #MeToo movement was started in the last year to give people (primarily women) a platform to speak about their experiences and trauma regarding rape and sexual assault. Ever since, the conversation and awareness surrounding these topics have greatly grown, although there is still work to be done.

The program started out with the teen girls running it stating sexual assault statistics, such as the fact that “108 times IC is equal to the number of kids at risk for being sexually exploited right now.” We then walked around the room and read quotes from impactful women hung up on the wall, such as, “We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead,” from Beyonce. This led us into a discussion of what these quotes mean, and how people perceive them. Soon after, we were lucky to be in the presence of Skylar Haas, a BBYO staff member and a black belt in martial arts, and Guy Hayon, an Israeli woman who was previously in the IDF.

Haas and Hayon taught us several different techniques to get yourself out of a potentially dangerous kidnapping situation, but they also had a lot to say. “Self Defense is all about gaining control back,” says Haas. “If someone’s grabbed you, the first important step is to gain control back. You hold onto them and attack. If you don’t have control, they will just keep going at you. But if you show them that you know what you’re doing, then they’ll hopefully back off. It is so important for young women to be trained in some form of martial art. If you can somehow find a way, it is so important in the world now more than ever. I walk around every day with my head high. I’m not scared of men.”

Hayon also had some tips and input from what she learned in the army: “In the army, we learn defense [with] our guns, but with [avoiding] shooting. So that’s what I know how to do, and this is very important. If you learn that now in your life, it will keep you safe.”

Overall, this program taught us a lot about how to not only physically protect ourselves, but also the mindset we need to have in this day and age.

Yakirah Mitchel is a BBG from Michigan Region. She is a founding member of her chapter and currently serves as its N'siah.

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