For day nineteen of the Blogging “Yes” project, I read Anastasia Higginbotham’s essay, “Sex Worth Fighting For.” So far, this is the essay I disagree with most in the book, because it focuses on a self-defense program that focuses on actively fighting off men. Though I recognize that some women do feel empowered by physically fighting, I would argue that both men and women need to work towards non-violence, and that fighting violence with violence is not the right solution for everyone.
I have never been in a situation where I needed to be able to physically fight someone off, and perhaps I would be singing a different tune if that were not the case. However, as a pacifist it’s hard for me to advocate physical violence and aggression as a solution to any problem. Do I think women should be meek and mild and take no action when confronted with violence? Of course not. But the kind of violent anger in this essay seems counterproductive to me. Rape culture is a part of an overall culture of violence. Think of the money we spend on our defense budget, of the pointless wars we engage in, in how we teach young boys to be aggressive as a value. Rape cannot be divorced from this context. Rather than teaching women to channel rage into physical aggression, shouldn’t we be teaching men that violence is an absolutely unacceptable form of problem-solving?