The Need for ESD
By conservative estimates, about 120 million women worldwide - about the total population of Japan - have been violently forced to endure unwanted intercourse or other sexual acts by their chosen intimate partners.
This number says nothing about the violations perpetrated by strangers, coworkers, neighbors, family members, or other non-intimate outsiders.
Indeed, the problem is much bigger than 120 million people. Other research indicates that as many as 70% of women worldwide have experienced some form of sexual violence. Given an estimated world population of 7 billion people, that means that there are something like 2.5 billion people who have either already been raped, beaten, or otherwise assaulted at least once — with up to 3.5 billion people currently living in constant fear of being attacked for the first time, the fifth time, or even more.
We can no longer accept that this that there’s nothing we can do about this.
The issue of sexual violence is a complex one that will likely take years, possibly even generations, to correct. In the meantime, there are quick-fix measures we can put into place right now that can reduce incidents of rape and sexual assault by approximately 50 - 60%. And we can do it for a tiny fraction of what traditional, post-trauma services are already costing us.
According to peer-reviewed research:
ESD training “[r]educes the rate of rape among participants by nearly 50%” (Anderssen).
“[W]omen who have learned self-defense are both more likely to avoid rape if they are attacked, and much less likely to be attacked in the first place” (“Research on Self-Defense”).
“A recent Nairobi-based study found that comprehensive self-defense training costs US $1.75 for every assault prevented, compared with an average of $86 for post assault hospital services. Given the higher cost of medical services, it is likely that the savings would be even greater in United States” (“Research on Self-Defense”).
Even better, empowerment self-defense training (as opposed to other forms of traditional self-defense training) can have therapeutic benefits for women who have already been assaulted:
“[R]esearch has found that women with self-defense training who experience a subsequent assault blame themselves no more—or even less—than women without self-defense training. Moreover, women who are raped but physically resist are actually less likely than other women to blame themselves for their assault” (“Research on Self-Defense”).
“Empowerment self-defense training decreases women's fear and anxiety and increases their confidence, their sense of self efficacy, and their self-esteem. Learning self-defense helps women feel stronger and more confident in their bodies. Women report more comfortable interactions with strangers, acquaintances, and in situations that seem dangerous and those that do not. Empowerment self defense training can also be healing to survivors of sexual violence.” (“Research on Self-Defense”).
These studies have proven that there's no reason that empowerment self-defense training shouldn’t be as accessible as CPR certification and swimming lessons.
We believe that by making empowerment self-defense training accessible to all women who want and need it, ESD Global can play a role in helping prevent violence while also helping survivors heal and recover.
Empowerment self-defense works. It’s proven, it’s inexpensive, and it has a therapeutic benefit.
It’s time to rally our resources and fight back.
Anderssen, Erin. “Teaching Women Self-Defence Still the Best Way to Reduce Sexual Assaults: Study.” The Globe and Mail, The Globe and Mail Inc., 5 June 2017, www.theglobeandmail.com/life/study-shows-resistance-tactics-work-to-prevent-campus-sexual-assault/article24905250/.
“Facts and Figures: Ending Violence against Women.” UN Women, United Nations Women, www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures. Viewed on 7 May 2018. Page updated August 2017
“List of Countries by Population.” StatisticsTimes.com, 8 Apr. 2015, statisticstimes.com/population/countries-by-population.php.
“Sexual Violence Might Reshape the Female Brain.” OZY, 27 Nov. 2016, www.ozy.com/acumen/sexual-violence-might-reshape-the-female-brain/72030.
“Women’s Self-Defense Frequently Asked Questions.” Hollander, Jocelyn A. 2017. https://selfdefense.uoregon.edu/research-on-self-defense .
“State Population Totals: 2010-2017.” State Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010-2017, United States Census Bureau, www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popest/state-total.html.
“Until Safety Is Guaranteed: Women and the Fight against Violence.” Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, President and Fellows of Harvard College, 22 Feb. 2016, www.radcliffe.harvard.edu/schlesinger-library/exhibition/until-safety-guaranteed.