Personal Safety & Self-Defence
With incidences of homophobic violence increasing around Mardi Gras, now is the time to learn self-defence, improve safety awareness and build your confidence. Reg Domingo reports.
Mardi Gras is a festive time in Sydney. But for some, the merriment can screech to a halt because they become a victim of homophobic violence.
Statistics by ACON’s Anti-Violence Project indicate incidences of street-based homophobic violence increase around Mardi Gras. It’s a sobering picture supported by research, with a 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology report showing forty per cent of people said they had witnessed hostility or abuse when travelling to and from gay and lesbian events. Alarmingly, nearly 10 per cent said they witnessed six or more such incidents.
And while many now adopt safety strategies to avoid becoming a target such as walking in groups, restraining behaviour or covering up, others still fall prey to anti-gay violence. Last year, police arrested 13 people during the Mardi Gras Parade for a variety of offences, including assault.
In light of these statistics, local LGBTIQ sporting group, GLMA Martial Arts (Gay and Lesbian Martial Arts) is holding a free self-defence and personal safety workshop.
“The benefit for an untrained person doing self-defence is to build awareness around prediction, prevention and preparation for a potentially violent incident during the Mardi Gras season or any other time,” lead GLMA instructor Penny Gulliver tells SX.
“Everyone should do a self-defence course to know simple concepts and techniques. If something goes down, you tend to resort to the basics.”
The workshop will covers basic self-defence strategies and techniques, provide a better understanding of situations, and offer advice around safeguarding one’s personal safety and welfare. It will also provide an introduction to kung-fu.
It’s an area Gulliver is passionate about, having been in the field of self-defence since 1975 while working at the Rape Crisis Centre in Sydney. And it’s a skill she’s eager to share with others. Gulliver has been leading GLMA since its inception in 1992.
“GLMA was created to service the GLBTI community but now attracts everyone with a like-minded, social justice attitude. We are pursuing both martial arts excellence and a healthy lifestyle, as well as building safety, self-confidence and self-esteem.”
[Image] Students at GLMA Martial Arts. Photos: Supplied
Self Defence and Introduction to Kung Fu Workshop, Saturday, February 9, 12.15pm-2.15pm, Newtown Library, 10 Brown Street, Newtown. Details: www.glmartialarts.com.au
STAY SAFE DURING MARDI GRAS
GLMA Martial Art’s Penny Gulliver offers some safety tips for Mardi Gras and beyond
• Avoid violence at all costs.
• Understand your position of disadvantage and work from there.
• But if needed, strike vulnerable areas: eyes, throat, groin.
• Escape – leaving the scene is the most powerful thing you can do.
• Exit to where you can get back up rather than some isolated place where you may be followed.
• Jump in a taxi, if possible.