Necessity over greed; a gendered war on self-defense

Aero Gartner, Reporter

Say no.

Arms up. Shoulders back.

Stay alert. Share your location. Meet with him in public.

Run. Run faster. Still not fast enough, three more laps.

Scream. Scream louder. No one would hear that: out through your diaphragm this time.

LT recently created the basic self-defense course available to girls and non-binary people, with the main goal being to teach those who are largely at risk of assault how to defend themselves. As of the 2023-2024 school year, boys at LT will be allowed to enroll in a course of their own.

While I understand that everyone can benefit from learning to defend themselves, the creation of this course is incredibly unethical. At-risk individuals at LT are learning how to defend themselves from violent attacks and assaults. This class is important for girls heading off to college campuses, where rates of sexual assault facing women are especially high.

The fact that girls at LT feel that they need a self-defense course is a glaring inequality between men and women in itself. If we did not have a severe issue in this country of violence against women, this class would not have been necessary to create in the first place. Yet, here we are with approximately 230 people who are enrolled in a course aimed to train you how to defend yourself from a violent assault.

An important piece of the creation of boys’ self-defense came from community outcry as well as witnessing the success of the girls’ self-defense course. On the contrary, the creation of girls’ self-defense stemmed from the alarming sexual violence statistics related to women. Specific statistics cited in support of the creation of girls self-defense came from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Rape, Assault, Incest and National Network (RAINN). According to the CDC, one in four girls is sexually abused before the age of 18. According to RAINN, nine out of 10 victims of sexual assault are women, and every 68 seconds a person experiences sexual assault. Along with this, the highest risk years of sexual assault are between the ages of 12 and 34, and females ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

The gap both in demand and in reasoning behind the creation of both of these courses is what struck me as incredibly alarming. One course was created out of necessity, and the other was created out of greed. While everyone deserves safety and security in their environment, there was only a concern expressed by the boys at LT after the girls got this course back in 2020. My issue with this course stems from the fact that community requests came after the girls self-defense class began as opposed to forming because the boys expressed concern over their own safety. Boys should not get a self-defense course simply because the girls expressed the need for one. There is a glaring difference here, and that difference is the line between necessity and desire. LT needs to prioritize necessity first, and that is the safety of the girls at LT.