Right now, human trafficking is kind of the buzzword of the day. People are terrified they or someone they love will get snatched up and sold into some kind of slavery.
I’m not about to preach caution on that, either. While it’s not nearly as likely as some seem to believe, being wary of your surroundings is rarely a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, it seems, the classes that were once a popular way to help prevent women from being raped have morphed into preventing human trafficking.
A 15-year-old taekwondo student hosted a human trafficking awareness and self-defense workshop on Saturday in Moline.
“As a taekwondo student myself, I’ve learned many skills I think have helped me in my own life,” Livia Dodd said.
Dodd asked Family Resources to help her inform Quad Citans about human trafficking, which is considered a form of modern-day slavery.
During the Family Resources presentation, women listened to the recorded stories of survivors and were provided with statistics and resources.
“Even here in our local Quad Cities women are at risk and they don’t even know it,” Dodd said.
Good on Miss Dodd for doing this. That’s a huge thing for a 15-year-old to take on, much less make a success. I applaud her.
However, I also hope that those who attended understood the innate limitations of a class like this.
You see, learning to keep yourself safe from a potential attack of any kind isn’t something you really get from a one-day seminar. It’s a lifetime commitment to learning on the topic. It’s understanding the nature of the threat and how to address it.
Sure, classes like this have a role to play. They’re great primers for getting someone a basic foundation, but it should never be considered the end of the learning experience.
What happens far too often is that a woman attends a class like this, be it focus on rape or human trafficking, and walks away confident that they’re prepared for whatever may happen next. They then never practice the physical skills they learned. They never add to their arsenal. In essence, they act like they’ve now done everything they need and don’t realize they’re still vulnerable.
It’s why I tend to have mixed feelings about classes like this.
None of that should be reflected on Dodd. She’s 15-years-old and clearly she is taking this seriously. I’m pretty sure she figures this knowledge is better than none, and she’s right. Anything that empowers people to feel like they can act in such a situation is likely to benefit them in any violent encounter more than being docile and just letting things happen to them.
My hope, though, is that these women understand that they’re not at the end of this particular journey, but at the very beginning.
These classes are a foundation. They’re a basic entry into a world that most people are oblivious to.
With luck, though, some will recognize they only have the most cursory understanding about what can happen and they begin to delve deeper into the world of personal defense.
That means learning more than a single-class worth of martial arts. It also means carrying a gun, if you’re legally allowed to.