Finding Security In Self-defense

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - April 14, 2005

There were three reported rapes near the UH-Manoa campus recently, prompting a demonstration by scores of concerned women. Girl Fest Hawaii, whose mission is to combat violence against women, maintains school officials need to do more to prevent other attacks. Although their intent is good, it seems their energies are somewhat misplaced.

For the record, I cannot think of a crime which is more cowardly yet brutal. I have railed against lenient attitudes and sentences concerning sexual crime. I have shared in this space and on the air my childhood experiences relating to sexual exploitation and abuse. I have an absolute zero tolerance threshold for any person — male or female, young or old — who perpetrates such a crime. If I had my way, our judicial system would elevate rape and molestation to a capital crime. I would support any initiative which would call for the execution of those positively convicted of such a heinous crime. The victim of sexual brutalization is cruelly sentenced to the perpetuity of those violent memories.

That said, as passionate as I am in the prosecution of the offender, I believe we are all responsible for our own wellbeing and individual safety. I understand the important role of police and other law-enforcement agencies, but they are reactive rather than proactive entities. If I am being mugged on a dark street, I don’t want my only defense to be a cell phone call to 911. I want the means to defend myself with whatever means necessary.

This message of self-empowerment from Girl Fest Hawaii could have been relevant and refreshing. According to published reports, there is a siren call for school administrators to “do more.” But are you really prepared to turn over your personal safety to a bureaucrat behind a desk? Talk about the ultimate definition of “false sense of security.”

I can appreciate the requests from the university for increased dusk-to-dawn security and a 24- hour security escort service, although I am not convinced these programs would be realistic. Does that mean each and every woman should have her own personal security officer on demand? It is simply not practical. Actually, the state would be exposed to liability if a request for service is made, the escort doesn’t show and then a terrible crime is committed. It is inevitable that legal action would ensue.

But GFH lost me with their demands for mandatory classes for educators and coaches on anti-sexist methods of teaching and training students and athletes. Huh? Are we to infer that our professors and coaches are teaching in a sexist manner? Wait, let me back up … what the heck is an “anti-sexist” method to begin with? Is GFH insinuating teachers/coaches are somehow responsible for nurturing sexual criminal intent in the classroom and on the field? I hope not.

Let’s cut to the chase. Instead of making demands that someone protect them, I would hope Girl Fest Hawaii and other like-minded individuals and organizations would expend as much effort to create an atmosphere of self-reliance. The legislative proposal allowing concealed carry of firearms has been never seen the light of day in TheBigSquareBuilding. But more than 30 states that passed the measure have seen a dramatic decrease in violent crime year after year. There is no truth to pervasive gun violence by citizens legally keeping a firearm on their person. The law-abiding women and men of Hawaii should be able to decide whether or not to carry a firearm as a method of self-defense.

Ultimately, we are responsible for our own defense. If carrying a gun is not your choice, you can empower yourself with professional self-defense training. You can purchase pepper spray or other forms of nonlethal weaponry. There are myriad of options available.

On the flip side, I applaud GFH for their passion and desire to eradicate violence against women. I hope they urge the Legislature and other officials to grant them, and us, the ability to take care of ourselves.

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