LEARNING to “fight like a girl” took on new meaning for female Digicel employees when they participated in a virtual self-defence workshop. The event focused on raising awareness about violence and teaching women real-life skills on how to protect themselves.
The two-hour workshop, held on May 21, was the result of a partnership involving Digicel and senior lecturer at the Institute of Caribbean Studies and the Reggae Studies Unit, UWI, Mona, Professor Donna Hope, and certified martial arts instructor and poet, Marcia 'Cherry Natural' Wedderburn.
The action-filled session, provided a safe space for women to openly ask questions about how to ward off attacks from street harassers or people known to them. Studies have shown that women are more likely to be attacked by someone they know.
Cherry Natural led practical demonstrations on showing the women techniques in assertiveness, boundary-setting and everyday self-protection. Viewers felt free to follow the demos while in the office or working from home.
Throughout the life-changing session, Professor Hope and Cherry Natural engaged in spirited discussions on how women who carry themselves with confidence, remain aware, and surround themselves with people who support them, are better equipped at protecting themselves. Cherry Natural, a black belt holder, demonstrated key self-defence techniques based on her over 30 years of experience.
Participant in the rigorous yet practical session, Digicel Public Relations Executive Jody-Ann Fearon, expressed, “With physical safety being a challenge faced by many women today, we embraced the opportunity to partner with Professor Hope and Cherry Natural to enable women through self-defence. The safety tips and techniques shared were enlightening, and we are happy to be a part of this movement to equip women with tools to protect themselves in the home, workplace, and in the streets.”
“Self-defence is not violence; it is self-love” declared Cherry Natural, as she sought to dispel scrutiny around the act. She continued, “Individuals must value themselves so that they'd want to protect their personal space. Despite self-defence being a physical contact encounter, it is 70 per cent psychological and 30 per cent physical.”
Reinforcing some key points from the session, Professor Donna Hope, concluded, “It is important that women pay attention to their intuition and practice self-love so that they can identify possible threats and take the necessary steps to safeguard themselves. I'm very gratified that Digicel Jamaica came on board as our main sponsor to provide this very timely and necessary workshop given that this current period is very unsafe for women.”