By Racquel Joseph
If, in the weeks after you read this article, you happen to hear of a Baylor girl defeating an unworthy assailant with a high-heeled shoe, you should not be surprised. On Thursday, September 23, the Barfield Drawing Room was filled with more than three hundred girls listening intently to Erin Weed, the founder of the national non-profit Girls Fight Back. Thursday marked the fifth time that Alpha Delta Pi has sponsored the self-defense event. Baylor is one stop on a national college tour.
Weed was inspired to form Girls Fight Back after a tragedy that hit close to home. In 2001, soon after Weed’s college graduation, a good friend of hers was murdered in her own bedroom near campus. Because Weed’s friend fought for her life, her murderer left behind incriminating evidence, which led to his arrest and a sentence of death.
The first lesson of the evening targeted the difference between a man’s world and a woman’s world: fear. As Weed detailed women’s common fears, like being home alone for a weekend or loading groceries into a car at night, the audience shifted in their seats and whispered agreement to each other. Girls Fight Back aims to change the scary world into one where girls are their own best protectors. Relying on a father, boyfriend, brother, or any other man to save you is not what Weed and Girls Fight Back advocates.
Reagan Smith, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, feels that Girls Fight Back serves as a constant reminder. “Every year I attend, I leave with a renewed dedication to being aware of myself and my surroundings—but also with the comfort that if I needed to, I could take steps to fight back,” she says.
Weed’s presentation—a mixture of humor and practical, deadly advice about intuition, security, and self-defense—includes her story of training with hardened military and intelligence men in a New Hampshire boot camp and the use of improvised weapons. Before you know it, girls are on their feet, hands up in defense posture simulating attack responses. Girls shout out “kneecap” and “groin,” identifying the weak spots of the male anatomy. The familiar feelings of fear are pushed aside for a rising tide of fun and empowerment.
Maegan Rocio, a freshman at Baylor, admits she sometimes feels uncomfortable walking across campus in the evening. Now, she says, “I feel more at peace about moving around on an open college campus where anyone can easily pop up out of nowhere.”