Self-defense methodologies are effectively program solving systems. Determining the “threat” corresponds to identifying the problem. There is a “cost” or trade-off associated with personal safety and risk reduction. The trade-off of risk reduction usually involves less opportunity to engage in certain “risky” (fun) activities.
Taking extra-safety precautions requires extra-effort (a cost) as opposed to taking no safety precautions. The cost could also be the consequences of taking action.
There is also a cost of over-estimating the presence of danger. That cost results from the associated fear of the danger. Fear of crime, particularly sexual assault, among women is a factor that causes harm in many women’s lives. This fear causes them to limit their activities and engage in numerous safety rituals. It creates increased stress and anxiety. It serves as a form of social control. It causes many women to be passive and not stand up for themselves for fear of being assaulted in retaliation and possibly raped. It makes them fear to take public transportation or afraid walk their neighborhood after dark.
On a societal level fear creates more distrust of other people, particularly men of color. Trust is an essential element of successful civilizations. Distrust the byproduct of fear. Defining women as the perpetual victim class reinforces societal beliefs that women need to be protected by men and don’t have the capabilities to fend for themselves.
Recommended Book: Nothing Bad Happens to Good Girls: Fear of Crime in Women’s Lives
Recommended Book: Fear of Crime: Interpreting Victimization Risk
The goal of self-defense is to minimize the negative consequences of unwanted aggression and create peace of mind. The goal is not to make women into better fighters. It is not to burden them with excessive risk reduction and hypervigilance verging on paranoia.
Fear is the result of a person’s assessment of danger. This assessment is the sum of evaluation multiple factors:
- Chance or odds of an event occurring.
- Control over the event occurring.
- Capability to handle to event.
- Consequence of the event if it occurs
- Coping ability after the event.
Statistics and beliefs promoted by the Merchants of Fear create in many women the image of living in a risky world where all women are at constant risk of a violent assault from powerful man that results in rape and possible murder and there is little they can do about it. In reality, the rate of violent crime in the US is down dramatically.
CORE CONCEPT: Fear Management vs. Danger Management – Marc MacYoung
This fear has the direct result of making it more difficult for women and girls to make accurate situational threat assessments based on evaluations as opposed to emotions. Many women and girls develop dispositional fear that causes them to be overly fearful in non-dangerous environments. They think any man deemed to be creepy as a dangerous serial predator. They emotionally “freeze” [video] in fear in reaction to a threat as opposed to making a clear headed decision and calculated response.
A lifelong fear of Stranger Danger causes many women to under estimate the danger posed by people they know and who use systematic personal boundary violations to assess victim vulnerability and abuse victims.