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Start Screaming!

Women, it seems, don't like to scream. But our lives may depend on learning how.

I'm taking a course in women's self-defense, and the man teaching it is very blunt about the skills we need to survive robbers and rapists. If a man orders us to go somewhere with him, don't go. If he wants our purse, throw it to him and run the other way; the contents can be replaced but our lives can't.

And when confronted, start screaming and don't stop.

Along with showing us how to fight back with punches, kicks and more, the teacher asked the eleven of us to let out a big scream. I had my mouth half-open to start, but I paused just a split second so we'd all be screaming at the same time.

Then I realized: No one was letting out so much as a peep.

We started laughing. One woman said, "I don't like screaming. It's not my thing."

Did that mean if a man attacked her in the darkness, she'd go meekly and quietly to her death?

We were asked to take turns screaming. I filled my mind with terror and rage, opened my mouth and screeched something like "Goddammit-get-the-hell-away-from-me-stop-stop-STOP!!!" At the top of my lungs.

Afterward, my throat felt raw and ravaged, but I had done what I needed to do to save myself.

Yet there was still a woman in the room who stood there awkward, apologetic, unable to scream.

As I stood there, I thought about how hard it is, even under ordinary circumstances, for women to find their voice. I thought about how strange it feels to practice screaming with a roomful of women in a suburban karate studio.

But the practice was essential. The sisterhood in the studio that day was aware of the power we claimed when we gave ourselves permission to scream. We applauded one another for the courage we found within.

Because when we're faced with violence, we must find our voice.

We must scream.

Or die.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
Powerful post. Girl, I can scream...but it would be full of fowl language and I'd be a little nervous to air that to the class. That said, I can't believe that one girl couldn't scream, even a little. That's scary.

~ Huckdoll
Feb. 12th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC)
I really love this. It is so true. I think as women we are socialized to sit with our legs crossed, quietly, and look pretty. To hell with that. I got me a pair of lungs baby, hold ya ears!
Feb. 12th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's interesting. I'd love to take a self-defense class. Can you forward me the information about where you're taking yours?

I had to chuckle about the screaming part, though. My husband would disagree that women don't like to scream! Heh. Poor guy. Actually, he knows when he's REALLY in trouble because my voice goes down to barely a whisper. That's how he knows to start headin' for the hills. LOL.
Feb. 19th, 2008 06:17 am (UTC)
My class is at Live Steel Fight Academy in Pottstown. The teacher is not taking any more students for this class, but is hoping to offer it again later if there is enough interest. I'll keep you posted! :-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )