A local organization in town, Global Alms, provides excellent certified self-defense classes. They also run Yes She Matters–a crisis line women can call locally to receive emergency assistance in four languages.
Knowing some of the particular challenges our community was facing, Global Alms & Yes She Matters offered us a free twelve-week self-defense course for twelve people. That is an incredible gift!
Further, they have been personally working with me, so that I am equipped for things we might deal with in our community.
This just makes me so thankful, as I think of these women teaching myself and my dearest friends week after week so that we can live safely. That is an incredible gift.
But it’s also a big idea. They are so brave to take it on in a group with varied backgrounds of abuse and experiences, some in current situations of abuse, in addition to other fears and concerns.
We’re already seven weeks in, and I’m still not sure what to say.
It was hard to see it in the first week: those that carry past experiences wear it on their faces and in carry it in their bodies. Their eyes give them away. They are desperate to learn, desperate to be there.
But there are also those that only feel a threat in the distance; they haven’t seen it close. They wear that on our their faces, too.
It’s been a learning experience. It’s been exhausting at times: physically, mentally, emotionally. We’ve had some of the hardest conversations yet around this class. Some I never thought I’d ever have, and most I’m still not sure if I’m more thankful or more heartbroken for them.
I do know I’m thankful we serve a God that heals the broken-hearted, because there is so much broken-heartedness around us.
We made safety plans a few weeks ago, discussing our exit strategies, our safe places, and people we trust. We packed bags and stored them in secret places, with spare keys & copies of important documents.
We’ve also laughed. We’ve accidentally smacked each other instead of the foam pad. We’ve shouted at one another, “Get back!” and “Give me back my money!” in simulations. (I’m still working on my angry Burmese.) We also got to see Yedi “attack with a full gangster act, and we all rolled with laughter.
It’s been a bit of an overwhelming experience, but a good one. I’m thankful for what I’ve learned, thankful for what I’ve seen my friends learn. I’m so thankful for Global Alms sharing their skills and expertise so generously. And thankful for a chance to spend every Saturday with some of my favorite women!