For women at La Trobe University campus wondering how to handle a risky incident or physical abuse, Georgie Sea a self-defense instructor encourages them to ask a simple question: “What if this happened to me?”
“You really need to think about your move. Constantly play that game with yourself,” Sea said in a workshop organised by the La Trobe Student Union (LTSU) Women’s department on 11 September 2018 at the La Trobe Sports Centre. It was a women-only instructional workshop teaching women on La Trobe campus how to defend themselves.
Aishwarya and Zainab LTSU Women’s officers conducted a survey to study the number of women fallen prey to sexual assault or some kind of abuse on campus.
One of the students said there’s been an uptick in interest because of the #MeToo movement and #Bettina Arndt on campus.
Claire Park who studies International Relations at La Trobe said, “A socialist group on campus protested against Bettina Arndt’s visit on campus. And that was violent.”
“If there are more activities about ‘how to embrace or fight in a harassment situation on campus’ it would help.”
Shannon Jenkins, a journalism student wrote on the University’s Upstart news, “Arndt’s visit was met by angry protesters, who chanted and banged on the venue doors for her entire talk.”
President of LTSU, Michael Iroeche issued a statement supporting the socialist agenda.
“La Trobe University Student Union strongly condemns Bettina Arndt, the views she represents, and the University’s decision to re-authorise the event, “Betting Arndt: Is There A Rape Crisis On University Campuses?”. Above all things, the LTSU believes in diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all students in La Trobe University. At the top of this list is ensuring that all students at La Trobe are heard, represented, and safe,” he said.
To promote safety and learn to defend against sexual assault, the self-defense workshop was organised.
Decked out in workout clothes, students formed a big circle and followed the instructor’s steps. They did some pre-workout stretches and bends to get started.
“Attacking stance!” shouted Sea. And the entire group responded immediately with a display of strong ready-to-fight poise.
Jessica who attended the workshop said, “We were practically demonstrated three to four basic moves and kicks. And then paired with our friends and took turns practicing them. It was fun learning it. And the great to learn practically. I’m glad I could learn so much just in two hours.”
Another student feeling excited said, “I have done basic karate and kickboxing workshops before. This is of a similar type. I like how timely it is with what happened last week on campus. I reckon, learning some kicks and smashing faces is a way to teach abusers a lesson.”
“We (Aishwarya and Zainab) had not expected such a huge response. We as women’s officers on campus want to conduct a lot of these workshops. It is the need of the hour to feel safe and strong for women not only on campus but anywhere in the world,” Aishwarya Kulkarni said.
“We have plans to collaborate with Melbourne Police to conduct more workshops and awareness programs across La Trobe campus.”