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wendo

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Wen-Do is a feminist organization with the following beliefs and goals:

We believe that everybody has the right to live free from violence and the threat of violence.

We believe that, in a male-dominated society, women's experience of violence and the fear of violence is typically different from men's, and it is therefore vital for women and girls to have access to self-defence courses taught by women, for women and girls only.

We recognize that women and girls already have a wealth of experience in protecting their own safety. We believe that women can use their bodies effectively, as they are -- older or younger, athletic or not, disabled or non-disabled -- to resist or defuse violent situations. We aim to build on participants' prior knowledge and increase their self-confidence by teaching a variety of awareness, avoidance and verbal self-defence strategies, and simple, practical physical techniques that are designed to be effective even against a larger and stronger attacker.

We aim to increase the choices available to women, and to provide suggestions and ideas, not a list of do's and don'ts. We emphatically reject any approach that tries to blame women and girls for having "provoked" or "failed to prevent" violent attempts to dominate and control them. We believe that ultimately each woman must make her own decision about how to respond to a particular situation.

We believe that, in order for self-defence teaching to be most effective, the violence to which it responds must be placed in a social context. We encourage participants to re-examine commonly held beliefs and stereotypes in our society that promote violence against women and girls, and to consider how their own histories, experiences and feelings may help or hinder their ability to defend themselves. We also provide participants with written resources on issues of violence against women and services available in the community.

We recognize that a woman's experience of violence, and her access to related services, may be affected by her age, race, cultural background, sexual orientation, identity as a transgendered woman, physical and mental ability, economic situation, and many other aspects of her experience.

Therefore:

We aim to provide a consistently high standard in women's self defence instruction. To that end, we train our instructors extensively, both in physical and teaching skills. We encourage instructors to continually hone their teaching skills by incorporating feedback from their students, sharing ideas with other instructors, and participating in instructor workshops and further training provided by Wen-Do.

While recognizing that absolute safety is an impossibility, we expect our instructors to make our classes as safe as possible for the participants, both in terms of physical safety and in terms of emotional safety and respect. Participants may choose for themselves whether or not to participate in any part of the course, according to their own comfort level.

We strive to create, within our organization, an environment where members will:

We strive towards making the world a place where it is safe to be a woman or a girl.