Article/Photo: Scott Taylor/Metro
After 50 women walked out of her gym feeling more confident about how to defend themselves, Femme Force Fitness owner and MMA fighter Emma O’Connor said she hopes to offer a similar self-defence course for high school girls, as well.
O’Connor didn’t know what to expect when she spread the word about last Saturday’s two-hour class designed to teach women not only how to fight off an attacker, but how to be more aware of their surroundings and potential vulnerability.
She said it went so well another one is in the works for her William Street gym sometime in the future.
“It wasn’t just women who came to it,” she said. There were 11- and 12-year olds, who came with their parents and they had such eagerness to learn. It was phenomenal.”
O’Connor talked about rape culture and situational awareness, while giving participants the opportunity to learn the basics of self-defence and hand-to-hand combat because in today’s world, women and girls are still being told that they’re part of the problem if they dress provocatively.
“Some people look at women and say it was their fault they got raped because they were dressed that way,” she said.
“Two of my friends from the Sexual Assault Centre came in and they talked about how it’s never our fault, we’re never the ones to blame.”
Part of the proceeds from Saturday’s event was given to the Sexual Assault Centre.
Now O’Connor hopes to reach out to school boards to see if there would be interest in spreading the word to students.
Sexual assaults are down 37 per cent in London in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013.