Disclaimer: self-defence is about getting yourself out of dangerous situations. Your own safety is of the highest importance and you are strongly encouraged to consider the risks before engaging in self-defence of others. Act collectively, don’t engage by yourself if you can avoid it and stay safe. Contact us if you want to talk about this further.
WINTA = Women, Intersex, Non-Binary, Transgender and Agender
CW: Sexual harassment and assault
For a month now LAFA North organisers have been holding weekly, public feminist self-defence sessions with the aim of teaching WINTA people some level of basic self-defence. The necessity for feminist self-defence is something that will always be required while we live in this patriarchal society. The need for self-defence has become ever more evident with the Euros championship going on and “lads” returning to pubs. A spike in sexual harassment and assault is the experience of WINTA people during this time. The common disgusting behaviour of cis-men is enhanced on lads nights out, where they are not held accountable by anyone and have nothing to fear. Having “constructive” conversations with cis-men will not end systemic rape-culture and thus their behaviour, and in the short term will not protect anyone. In extension, as defenders of the racist, ableist, patriarchal system police are of no help and are not here to serve or protect us. The only thing that will make WINTA people safe is to make cis-men afraid of us, make them afraid of harming and harassing us. We do this by defending ourselves militantly. The aim of the feminist self-defence sessions is thus to provide a safe space for WINTA people to learn that it is within their right to defend themselves and how they can do this. The sessions have been focused on de-escalation tactics, as well as active self-defence. The sessions are organised to build confidence in people’s abilities to defend themselves against strangers and familiar assailants, as well as creating networks of solidarity. Participants are encouraged to act collectively in self-defence, rather than on their own. While the hope is that no one will ever have to defend themselves against assault or harassment, the sessions aim to teach attendees the skills and confidence to get away.
Even though the organisers are inexperienced with teaching self-defence to disabled people we want everyone to feel welcome and we will figure out what best works for you, together. For accessibility reasons we have been holding the sessions outside whenever possible, as well as sanitising equipment after each session. Cis-men are allowed to attend the lessons as long as they comply with the safer spaces policy that is shared with newcomers and that the sessions remain majority WINTA. Failure to comply, failure to respect boundaries, and failure to be mindful of the space they take up will result in their removal. If you would like to support these donation-based sessions, please donate to our cashapp (£feministafa), email us at email@example.com to get posters and stickers for your donation, or bring cash to the sessions. We are looking to buy new pads as well as donate to the community space that allows us to use their building when the weather is too poor for outside training.
Love and solidarity to you all. Stay safe.