No one has the right to harm me.

No one has the right to harm me.

But that doesn’t mean they won’t try! So how should I prepare myself against that eventuality? This was the question addressed by the girls and Big Sisters at Sir William Stanier recently when they took part in a personal safety workshop run by Julie Tweedale, founder of Freedom Personal Safety.

Julie is passionate about helping all women find their physical and emotional strength as a way of taking control of their safety. She showed us, in a very practical way, how effective these methods can be. It was a powerful lesson – and it was a lot of fun too!

Julie led the workshop but, before we got started on the action, made us all recognise and agree to the essential principle: that no one has the right to harm us and that we must not be passive. Violence towards women is unacceptable.

Then came the practicalities: to start with we learned that shouting ‘No’ very loudly is in itself an effective deterrent; moving on from defiance we learned how to hold ourselves in a protective stance and, if necessary, how to punch and kick.

This was all useful and empowering stuff – and it was enthusiastically embraced by all – judging from the soaring noise and confidence levels as the session progressed. It also turned out to be a great bonding experience for the girls and Big Sisters. Our thanks to Julie – may the force be with you!

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