“The VPD Women’s Personal Safety Team team did a phenomenal job with their workshop, particularly in light of the added challenge of having to deliver such hands-on material in a virtual setting. As someone who has taken a variety of self-defence courses in the past, I can attest that this one stood out from the first minute.
Most other workshops often present techniques in such a complex manner that in a real-life fight-or-flight situation the instructions would be nearly impossible to reproduce. The Vancouver Police Department’s workshop, however, focused on a few effective escape mechanisms with easy-to-remember names that could certainly be recalled should a situation ever call for them.
Another piece that was brilliantly incorporated into this workshop was how to recognize the signs of domestic violence early on in a relationship so women can safely remove themselves from this kind of relationship before the verbal and physical abuse begins. For that component alone, I wish all women had the chance to take this workshop and stop this issue in its tracks.
The ‘mindset’ component was yet another critical element that is missing in most other workshops. Knowing that you’re legally allowed to injure the attacker, and the boundaries related to that, is important information that women do not have the luxury to think about when the need arises. The VDP also opened our eyes to a few additional dangers and how to navigate these (e.g. by indicating where the cameras in taxis are located and how to ask for them to be visible at all times). The fact that the officers provided exact sentences that can be said in threatening situations is yet another aspect that should not be underestimated.
As a woman, I cannot stress enough how valuable this workshop is. Despite knowing that this team has limitations in its capacity, I wish that millions of women will have the chance to learn these lessons to live a little safer, until society has caught on with teaching men how to respect boundaries and women.”