The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Self Defense, not Water Safety, Should Be Required

Kai ’13 / Staff Illustrator

Although Emergency Preparedness Water Safety (EPWS) teaches useful skills such as performing CPR, saving drowning victims and bandaging wounds, we at The UltraViolet feel that Self-Defense for Women would be a more practical required course because Self-Defense enables girls to have more self-confidence in defending themselves from kidnapping and rape.

Presently, the School requires all girls to complete the EPWS course in order to graduate, whereas about 80% of girls that graduate take Self-Defense.

One out of every six American women will be the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. These 17.7 million women are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol, twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Because the Self-Defense curriculum teaches girls to become very aware of their surroundings, students get the chance to use their Self-Defense skills more often than their EPWS skills and therefore girls who take both classes tend to favor Self-Defense. Rachel ’15 said she enjoyed Self-Defense more because she was able to identify traits and habits of people and learn how to deal with them in real life situations through verbal and physical responses. Now that Rachel has taken Self-Defense she says that her parents know that she will be safe if they are not around.

Physical Education instructor Heidi Hornbacher says that many of her students report incidents when they have had to either use their Self-Defense skills or prepare themselves to use them. “Marlborough requires Water Safety and that is basically self-defense against swimming pools,” Hornbacher said, explaining that in a perfect world her course would be required for all students. “Self-Defense is much more useful because only some people have pools, but everyone has a life.”

According to Physical Education instructor Naoto Tashiro, the biggest complaint about EPWS is that students have to go to class with their hair wet and feel uncomfortable and cold. Because most of the School’s hallways and communal space are located outside, this can be particularly uncomfortable in the winter months. Students should not have to get wet during the school day if they do not want to.

Requiring Self-Defense for Women instead of Emergency Preparedness Water Safety would allow all students to learn how to respond to many dangers facing women outside the School.


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  • R

    Rebecca Wear RobinsonDec 3, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Learning to protect oneself, to refuse to be bullied, abused or degraded needs to be a basic human right. Learning self-defense is one way of reinforcing this attitude, but the attitude that all of us have a right to live our life safely and without harm is more encompassing than ‘just’ self-defense. When we, as women, degrade one method of protecting ourselves and our loved ones at the expense of another method, we disrespect individual experiences and we weaken our ability to stand up for each other and our children. One child drowns every minute. Ask around, I promise almost everyone you know has known someone who drowned or almost drowned, or had a close call themselves. Water safety isn’t frivolous, it is a matter of life and death. Once women reach the age where they can take a self-defense class they are statistically pass the greatest risk of drowning. But many of those women will become mothers, and their children are at extremely high risk, especially before the age of 5. Having a child die has it’s own unique intensity of pain. Throwing out water safety in favor of any other form of safety, instead of ‘in addition to’ is literally throwing the baby out with the bath water.