Program stresses importance of being prepared
Jackie Carrier, 46, one of the participants of the workshop, holds memories of the time she was assaulted in Regina, Sask., at the age of 27. She said because it was an unexpected attack from behind, there was nothing she could do.
“I was with my cousin and this guy just came and stabbed me eight times because he thought I was his ex-wife,” said Carrier, noting that the man was intoxicated. “I remember where I was getting hit, how many times, I remember hitting a brick wall and falling down and he was just about ready to stab me again and he got me in the hand and he realized I was the wrong person.”
Photo by: Asha Siad
That mistake almost cost Carrier her life. She said that her thick leather jacket basically saved her because it stopped most of the stabbings. After the assault, Carrier said she was held up in her mother’s house for weeks and had to be escorted everywhere she went.
”I was confident. I was doing good and then all of the sudden now I’m sitting in this house, can’t go anywhere without anybody coming with me, and I can’t go to the store without a police officer or my brothers with me,” she said. “That’s not the way to live.”
Liz Harriman-Crooks has been teaching self–defence for the past 16 years. She emphasizes that everyone should take some kind of self-defence class; men, women and children.
”Part of self-defence is knowing that you can avoid some situations, but also that you can look after yourself in situations,” said Harriman-Crooks. She added that anyone can be the target of an assault.
“You do not have to be living on the street. You do not have to be a 14-year-old girl walking home from babysitting at two in the morning. You can be a business woman getting out of her car in a parking lot downtown and walking into her office and have a problem. You can be sitting in your own home and have a problem,” said Harriman-Crooks.
This workshop, like many others at the Women’s Centre, aims to provide opportunities for women to connect with others while learning new skills in a safe environment. The women not only learn how to defend themselves against an attacker, but also what situations and behaviours are safe, and what are not.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where violence against women is extremely common,” said Sarah Winstanley, education co-ordinator at the centre. “It can be a very empowering thing for women to discover that they are able to defend themselves.”
Although Carrier left Regina for Calgary after the assault because she felt safer, she said what happened to her could occur anywhere and she recommends every woman take a self-defence class.
Carrier, who is unemployed, said this past year her injuries have affected her a lot. She said the nerve endings on her fingers and shoulder from the stab wounds have been recently reacting since the incident. She has been getting counseling and physiotherapy.
Despite all of this Carrier remains optimistic and spends her time volunteering, doing artwork and facilitating an arts and crafts workshop at the centre. She also plans on taking more self-defence workshops.
”It empowers you through your mind. It makes you feel more like a woman that should be safe and secure no matter where she goes instead of having to stay at home and hide or wait for somebody to take you somewhere,” said Carrier.
For more information visit the Women’s Centre.