Lagos based NGO, Humanity Family Foundation for Peace and Development (HUFFPED) has facilitated a two-day self-defense mechanism meeting for adolescent girls in Lagos advising that, today’s girls must learn self defence.
The training was necessary in order for girls in the society to learn how to protect themselves from possible attacks as Nigeria grapples with insecurity in recent times.
Facilitating the session, Moturanyo Ayoade asked participants what they understand by self defence. According to her, “Self defence is what to do in order to protect ourselves from assault at any time and at any place.” She also said it is necessary for girls to learn how to defend themselves going by the direction the society is tilting towards.
Continuing, she said, “Self defence is a way of protecting yourself from harm eg. Fighting back, boxing, karate and also it can be anything we do, say or believe that keeps us safe sometimes ‘our safety goal is to get away’”.
Explaining what to say in order to stay safe, she enumerated a few steps. “You can be safe by reporting to an elderly person or the authority that someone is bothering you. You can say ‘leave me alone’ or you can yell ‘leave me alone!’” She instructed.
Stating further, Ayoade gave five personal weapons that can be useful. “We have five personal weapons which include, the Spirit, Mind, Eyes, Voice and Body (SMEVB), which are our five personal weapons.
“Our spirit is the belief that you can defend yourself. With the mind, you can stay calm because your mind helps you decide the best things to do. Our eyes show that you are not intimidated and that you will resist,” she explained the personal weapons.
She also told the participants that they can run. “Why do you think we need self defence? It is to protect ourselves. To keep yourself safe, you can also run. You can use your voice to act crazy and with our body we can fight, we can run. Our body is full of weapons,” she highlighted.
Continuing in the training, Ayoade gave the reason to be alert. According to her, awareness means “being alert and paying attention. It means being alert to what is going on around us and paying attention to what we are feeling inside of us. Awareness is the key for prevention.”
Lecturing further, she told the participants about their emotions and how important it is to their safety. “Some people receive feelings, it could be a feeling that you are not safe or feeling worry that something is wrong,” she said.
The need to process physical skills was also highlighted at the training. The facilitator said, “Physical skills are the skills we use in defending ourselves from getting harm or hurt from an attacker. Fighting is how we stand in self defence to give us a strong position from which to defend ourselves. Both verbal and physical skills are used to yell NO! to any form of abuse or attack,” she said.
Ayoade also defined assault continuum during the training. According to her, “Assault continuum is the scale that shows the full range of attacks, from the irritating to the life threatening. The main reason for the assault continuum is to help to understand what an attack is.”
She however gave the three types of assault on the assault continuum which include: verbal, intimidation and physical.
Participants were also taken through various types of assaults. Ayoade said “Verbal assault is when an attacker is using words to hurt you. Verbal assault can be very scary and emotionally upsetting even as the attacker is not touching you. Intimidation is when an attacker is using threats to hurt you, they still are not touching you, but they are using their body and voice to scare you and control you in some way. Physical assault is when an attacker has touched you and might want to hurt you.”
She also talked about sexual violence which she said is “When someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their permission. Sexual violence includes harassment, rude sexual comment, unwanted sexual touching and rape.”
Ayoade however she said sexual attacks be prevented using the tactics learnt at the training.
Participants too turn to ask questions which were answered both theoretically and with practical activities.