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Nov 17, 2016

Anti-Harassment March Encourages Women’s Empowerment

Renee Wentz

According to Wentz, the initiative is to empower women, who are victims of street harassment. She says that the students are learning how to respond—keeping themselves safe while getting men to recognize that the harassment is a form of violence.

 

Renee Wentz, Counselor, University of Belize

“It’s not funny; it is a form a violence. It is not a compliment; women don’t appreciate it. I don’t know any woman that has been hissed at and runs after the car and says please marry me. Most of us either ignore it, make a vex face or we give a response depending on our level of safety.”

 

Duane Moody

“In your expert opinion, what is the best response that any woman can have when they are being harassed?”

 

Renee Wentz

“The best response is…first thing you have to assess the situation. Are you completely alone? What is the vibe you get? What is the gut-feeling you get from this person? Are they going to escalate it? I mean I have responded to harassment myself in all different ways. Sometimes I ignore it because I just don’t want to deal with it or sometimes I will make a response. But when you make a response, you have to be very straightforward; you have to be very assertive. I wouldn’t say curse people or try to entice them, but to just let them know it is not okay to speak to me like that. And sometimes I have actually responded with humor if it was kind of a humorous comment. But usually the humor, if it is in front of people and then the man kinda gets ashamed. So he gets a feeling of what it feels like to be ashamed by you can’t talk to every woman like that on the street. Verbal self-defense is a big part of what I teach because usually events would escalate. So they may start very small with the person just getting into your space then it might be comments and it might continue on after that. So it is always to assess your situation and know what you feel is going to happen and look for your safety areas and make your route to get out; how can you get away from the person or how can you engage somebody else to assist you.”

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1 Response for “Anti-Harassment March Encourages Women’s Empowerment”

  1. Renee says:

    I’ll be offering a FREE self-defense course to women and girls on Saturday, 10 December 2016 from 8:30am-12noon at the Faculty of Education and Arts campus, University of Belize, Belize City. If you need more information, contact me by text at 630-5571 or at rwentz@ub.edu.bz

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