There is a post over at Hey Look entitled, "Martial Arts Delusion and How It Hurts Women." Because I think (a) the piece is based on demonstrably factually incorrect assumptions, (b) the piece assumes--here again, incorrectly--that there is some monolithic "martial art" or "self defense program", and (c) the author's conclusion is dangerous since if women take it seriously--which they shouldn't, as we'll see--they will be less likely to do one of the things that has been shown to make them more safe from sexual assault, I think this post merits deconstruction. In short, this post is an exercise in why one shouldn't spout off about things from the armchair, so to speak, when doing the dirty work of digging into the scientific literature is called for instead. Contrary to what the author suggests, self defense training has been shown to make women safer from sexual assault. So, let's start with that first and then I will move on to criticizing other elements of the author's wrong-headed argument.
“There is a documented effectiveness of self-defense training and enactment for thwarting attacks, helping survivors heal and avoid re-victimization, empowering women, and contributing to population-level changes that make self-defense a primary sexual assault prevention strategy in the public health model.” ~ McCaughey & Cermele (2015)
While rape and sexual assault are longstanding problems, it is only fairly recently that researchers, administrators, activists, and policy makers became aware of the depth and magnitude of the problem. Indeed, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the sexual assault of girls and women is an epidemic both here and abroad. Agencies ranging from the Center for Disease Control to the U.S. Department of Education have taken notice. With increasing coverage in the media of the so-called “rape culture” that is rampant on college campuses (and in society more generally), governments have been forced to take notice. For instance, the Obama administration recently initiated the 2014 White House Task Force on Sexual Assault on College Campuses—which mandated that colleges receiving federal funding must provide staff and incoming students with sexual assault prevention education.