Women of valor know how to retaliate

Imagine if the miscreants who attacked women were set upon by their potential victims and beaten to within an inch of their lives.

By
January 1, 2012 22:29
3 minute read.
2010 Youth Olympic Games

2010 Youth Olympic Games 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The black-clad bullies of Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem need to be taught a lesson. Ideally their physical and mental abuse of women should be terminated by acts of law but unfortunately, in Israel, both lawmakers and law-enforcers are slow to act in matters concerning women’s dignity and safety.

This leaves only one course of action to those women who want to save their fellow females from further violence and loss of dignity. They must meet violence with appropriate action.

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For many years, Israeli women have excelled at martial arts such as karate, judo, taekwondo and other Asian forms of combat arts. Many have developed advanced skills in these and other forms of self-defense.

The time for defense is here. Female martial arts experts should band together and patrol neighborhoods where women have been attacked for walking on the wrong side of the road, standing on the wrong line in the supermarket or sitting in the wrong place on public transportation.

Of course, “wrong” is purely a matter of interpretation by the bullies who use their foul tongues to abuse women who “sin” with any number of highly unflattering names, throw stones at them, hurl garbage at them and worse.

Neither do the bully boys limit themselves to grown women. As we have seen, they also attack little girls, causing them to have traumatic experiences, the effects of which may stay with them for years to come.

NOW IMAGINE if the miscreants who attacked women were set upon by their potential victims and beaten to within an inch of their lives. Think of the humiliation to the average bully boy, having been bested and subdued by something as vile and lowly as a woman. Worse still, it might be a woman who was menstruating at the time. The poor guy would not only walk away from the experience humiliated, but also contaminated. Oy Vey! The bully boys are giving the haredi community a bad name. Very few haredim would stoop to spit at a little girl or call Israeli officials “Nazis.” But the actions of a few have tainted the many.

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If the law cannot extricate the rotten apples from the barrel, and the haredi leadership has proven itself unwilling to publicly condemn the perpetrators of evil and excise them from their communities, then women must take matters into their own hands. Who better to do this than martial arts experts (or, should I say, expertesses)? An alternative is to practice the policy of the mythical Lysistrata, who in her bid to stop the Peloponnesian War urged the women of Greece to withhold conjugal relations from their husbands. In the haredi community, where there are strict rules governing marital cohabitation, abstinence during certain times of the month is difficult enough – but total abstinence, especially when it’s someone else’s idea, would just be too much.

Some haredi women have indeed protested the treatment meted out to them by extremists in their midst, while others have publicly stated that they have chosen this lifestyle of their own free will. Secular people, they say, have no right to interfere with their choices.

That is legitimate, up to a point. It is certainly true that each individual man and woman should be free to make the religious and ethical choices that make sense to him or her, without interference from the state or other outside forces.

Non-haredim cannot understand – and cannot be expected to understand – the stringencies of the haredi lifestyle. They cannot understand that the ultra- Orthodox march to the beat of a different drum. Of course, this does not give non-haredim the right to force their views on the haredim.

But the converse is also true. Haredim must not be allowed to impose their standards (or, truth be told, their inventions; there is no halachic or historic basis for gender separation on buses or public sidewalks, and certainly no halachic justification for spitting on other people) on an unwilling public.

If enforcement is the name of the game, women should band together and be prepared to retaliate. It is now clear that protest marches and slogans won’t do the trick. Being knocked to the ground and pinned down by a woman would be a far more effective means of getting them to rethink their strategies.

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