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FREE Women's Self Defence

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We are super excited to announce we are partnering with City of Gold Coast to bring you FREE Women's Self Defence Workshops as part of the Active and Healthy Spring Holiday Program.

Transitioning young ladies into fierce young women who are fearless, independent, ethical,resilient, courageous and empowered.

Our friendly female instructor will guide you to "Find Your Fierce" in a fun and interactive introduction to women's self defence workshop

Ages 13- 16 years

LABRADOR - Thursday 27th September 2018 11am-12pm
Labrador Community and Youth Centre
57 Billington Street

Robina - Wednesday 3rd October 2018 9am-10am
Robina Community Centre
196 Robina Town
Centre Drive (corner
San Antonio Court)
(room 1.1)

Bookings essential as we have limited positions available.
Book Here: ap8fiercefemales.com/registrationform

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Meet our newest Graduates

                  FIND YOUR FIERCE, SEMESTER 2, 2017. ALL SAINTS ANGLICAN SCHOOL

                  FIND YOUR FIERCE, SEMESTER 2, 2017. ALL SAINTS ANGLICAN SCHOOL

Ladies and Gentleman I am proud to introduce you to our All Saints Anglican School, Semester 2 Graduates of Find Your Fierce.

Through sweat, tears, laughter, shared stories and most of all loads of fun these five ladies have successfully graduated Find Your Fierce as fully fledged Fierce Females.

Please put your hands together, for the Fearless, Independent, Ethical,  Responsible, Courageous,  and Empowered Tayla, Daisy, Lilly, Tayla and Kirsty.

This course allows students to develop fundamental skills in self defence. Students are exposed to both physically and emotionally challenging situations to help them adapt to life as a young adult. The sessions are fantastic and cram as much into them as possible to maximise personnel development.
— Kirsty Branch
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The “Find Your Fierce’ women’s self defence course has taught me some super useful skills on what to do in all kinds of uncomfortable situations that you could find yourself in. This course is well structured and definitely worth the time, if anything, it is too short ;) I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and highly recommend it to all kinds of women. Amanda is super fun, and extremely knowledgeable and experienced. Daisy Fielding

 

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I am really really glad that I completed this course, it gave me such a great understanding of how situations can turn really quickly valuable ways that I can avoid confrontation and ensure my safety from just someone making an inappropriate comment all the way up to someone choking me. I feel empowered, and comfortable to live my life freely. During the lessons, I did however feel scared when defending against someone and it made me more submissive and fearful before each lesson. On numerous occasions I wanted to stop because I was scared, but it has taught me to overcome fear and it made me stronger mentally when in the attacking position. Tayla Coulson

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I really liked the experience, very emotional and I was not expecting that. I found that I can be confident but at times I crumble. This course has made me realise I need to be more confident and trust myself. Lilly Smith

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I’m so glad I did this in the end. It’s not like it has done anything wrong, actually this course was all a positive experience. It was hard and involved a lot of aggressive behaviour training which i am not used to even though I play basketball every day. It’s definitely something I will use in the future - but hopefully not soon ;)  Tayla Forbes

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Dad knows best..

My dearest father has recently starting writing poetry, rhymes and ditty's.  I was very touched when we he sent me a wonderful little piece of his work that he wrote for you. Yes, even my dad is thinking about ways to empower women. He thought it would be a good bit of advice from a old man, who has seen it all. I hope it inspires you to follow and trust your intuition x

 

Nature gave women an inborn skill called women's intuition.

Honed from the experience of a million generations...use it!

If something feels not right... run, as far and as fast as you can whether it’s a “friendship", or something more.

It’s made up of hundreds of tiny points of reference your mind picks up, each one maybe insignificant but together they ring bells in your head. 

Ignore these bells at your peril. 

CHRIS GIBLIN

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The Double Standard in the Sexual Objectification of Athletes

Each year, the two most prominent sports magazines in the United States, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN, run special editions of their periodicals that are meant to celebrate the human form - in one way or another. For Sports Illustrated, it's the Swimsuit Issue. For ESPN, it’s the Body Issue. Both magazine editions are received each year with a mix of anticipation, trepidation, and mixed reviews. So far, 2017 is no exception to this. 

According to a 2013 article in Newsweek, when Sports Illustrated printed its first Swimsuit Edition in January of 1964, “Its humble beginnings were rooted in a simple quest: to pique readers’ interests during the winter sports doldrums.” The other part of the then managing editor’s idea was to give its readers, at the time an almost exclusively male audience, a softer type of imagery, “He thought it would be nice to look at a pretty woman down on the beach.” 

In 2009, ESPN magazine debuted its Bodies We Want Issue as an attempt to revive the magazine’s dwindling sales. Printing and releasing the special issue with multiple covers depicting both male and female athletes from various sports appears on the surface to be a step in the right direction of simply appreciating the many forms of being human and an athlete. Look just below the shiny gloss of the front cover though, and you’ll see the ever-present double standard of sexually objectifying women staring you back in the face.

And here's why: every year its male viewers receive the Swimsuit Issue with great accolade. And each year, the magazine pushes the envelope just a little further toward the edge of crossing over into soft porn. The 2015 cover begs the question, “Why?” as cover model Hannah Davis pulls a shy schoolgirl face while appearing to slide her bikini bottom down almost to the point of obscenity. 2017 brings an issue with now 24-year old Kate Upton making her third appearance on the cover. At only 19 years old, she graced her first Swimsuit Issue cover posed in a sexually suggestive manner, clad in what can hardly be called a barely-there bikini, to be ogled at by millions of men around the world who presumably carried out some imaginative solo fantasising. I'll say that again. She was only 19 years old.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum, when male athletes grace the cover of ESPN's Body issue, there is a decidedly unfavourable reaction on the part of the male viewership. Interestingly, this year the coverage of the Body Issue's release by other media outlets came with the disclaimers such as, "WARNING: Images in the gallery above display nudity and aren't suitable for all readers” and “WARNING: NSFW images ahead.”

One of the 2017 covers is a photo of Ezekial Elliot, a running back in the NFL, and drew harsh criticism via social media. The following comments demonstrate the fragility of masculine tolerance for having to be subjected to a nude male figure. “@espn ESPN is straight garbage now,” “@espn what the hell?” and “SPORTS. THE S STANDS FOR SPORTS. NOT STRIPPERS” Funnily enough, the last comment garnering the response, “Oh, unless it's a girl in a thong...,” from a woman, which in essence appears to be exactly the case.

 

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An alternate cover of this year's Body Issue showcases Danish tennis icon, Caroline Wozniacki, with the caption “Caroline Wozniacki is ready for Wimbledon” by ESPN via Twitter. That tweet, however, elicited a much different response from male viewers demonstrated by comments such as, "[S]he will no doubt leak a sex tape before ever winning a grand slam,” “I think she’s ready for a lot more than Wimbledon…,” and “Would smash.” If you’d like to have a scroll through the comments yourself, I’ll just leave this here.

Per the same Newsweek article cited earlier in this post, the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue “generates around seven percent of SI’s annual revenue, according to Forbes. It’s also one of Time Inc.’s most profitable ventures, raking in more than $1 billion over the years and reaching a global audience of more than 70 million.” 

So, why is it then, that women and the female form are perfectly acceptable when posed provocatively in the nude as the apparent object of a mass male fantasy? Yet, a naked male athlete depicted in an unquestionably athletic pose draws the ire and disgust of that same male audience? 

Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments.

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This Ain’t Your Granny’s Feminism

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This Ain’t Your Granny’s Feminism

The word “feminism” today seems to hold a much more convoluted meaning than what it once represented. Coined by Frenchman, Charles Fourier, in the late 19th century, the term originated from the French word “feminisme" and was initially introduced in association with a growing movement toward equal legal and political rights for women. It was originally intended to combat the overbearing patriarchy that held women under its thumb as literal possessions of men.

At the time, women could not own property, vote, work, or make decisions for themselves. They were spoken for by their fathers until they wed, and then by their husbands. Women were not allowed to possess their own agency, and therefore had no freedom of will.

The early suffragettes and first wave feminism rallied, and in 1902, Australia became the first country in the world to allow women the rights to BOTH vote and serve in parliament. It was another 18 years before the United States ratified their constitution and granted women the right to vote in 1920.

Since that initial wave of feminism, two more have taken place, the third still occurring as I type these words. With each wave comes a growing sentiment that feminism no longer represents a simple request for women to be treated equally, but instead paints advocates of feminism as rabid, man-hating beasts, frothing at the mouth to replace men in society with women. 

Feminazi. That’s the derogatory term that is most widely used when referring to "radical" feminists who have the nerve to believe that women should have the same fundamental rights as their male counterparts. You know, like equal pay for equal work, not being sexually objectified, not constantly be sexually harassed or assaulted, and not having to be afraid to walk alone after dark.  

Within several western nations, there is a growing anti-feminist movement that, surprisingly, counts many beneficiaries of feminism within its ranks. Women all around the world, but primarily in majority white industrialised nations, are taking offence to being associated with feminism. These anti-feminists genuinely believe the feminist movement allows women to play the "victim" role in society, and as victims, they hold no responsibility for speaking up for themselves. Instead, they argue, victims ask society to punish those who might cause them offence.  

They further believe that they don’t need feminism because they are more privileged than any women that have come before them. They have the right to vote, own property, work, serve in government, and haven’t personally been violated by sexual harassment or assault – what more could they ask for? They’re not convinced the number of women around the world in abusive situations, sold into human trafficking, and treated worse than livestock in countries like Afghanistan are in need of such a concept as equality.

The other segment of the anti-feminist movement is, in large part, the men who see feminists as raging dykes who simply want to replace them in the world. They refuse to acknowledge the continued repression and victimisation of women throughout society and have begun a "Meninism” countermovement. Although the concept was initially started under the guise of parody, it has gained steam as a full-fledged men’s rights movement.

Refreshingly though, there is yet another movement gaining traction. Men, proudly calling themselves feminists, are taking to the streets (literally) in protest of the way women continue to be treated in the 21st century. And there are beloved young celebrities like Emma Watson who are speaking out on massive public forums and demonstrating that feminism isn't a hatred of men, and it really is nothing more than a request to be entitled to the same basic human rights they receive. 

The topics of feminism and women’s equality are ones that likely will not see resolution any time in the near future. When misogynistic men of power and wealth, such as Donald Trump, are elected take the helm of a country whose economy and trends literally affect the entire rest of the world, the true ideals feminism represents are set back decades. It will take another generation or two of male children being raised with the right morals to undo the damage done by the latest surge in anti-feminist sentiment.

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The Epidemic of Bullying

No longer reserved for the kiddies on the playground, bullying has soared to astronomical heights. Bullying has become widespread and can now be found in the workplace as well as in the marketplace and social community spaces. The epidemic of bullying in society today isn't just limited to the lower levels of socioeconomic status either. In fact, bullying in the workplace has gotten to be such a problem that an app for mobiles called “The Fairness Toolkit” is being developed to “help tackle workplace bullying and equip employees with expert assistance at the touch of a button.” According to the app’s developers, bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace costs the Australian economy more than $20 billion annually. The website NoBullying.com reports more than 9.3 million visits to their site by people around the world seeking help.

And if you thought that victims of bullying might find some reprieve at home, you'd be mistaken. Because of the constant state of being "connected," cyberbullying through social media platforms has been the cause of multiple suicides around the world and is seen in both males and females, young and old. In most cases, by way of life experience, the vast majority of bullied adults are simply more equipped to deal with bullying and seek assistance. Conversely, children and teens are much less likely to know how to find help outside of parents and teachers. 

As of the writing of this post, the Office of Children’s eSafety Commissioner reports a 60% increase in reported cases of cyberbullying within the last year stating, “Our own research shows us one-in-five young Australians has been cyber-bullied over time.”

Note, I said “reported” cases in that last paragraph. Because many victims feel there will be severe reprisal-type consequences from their bullies, many children don’t tell anyone they are being bullied. And then, there are those who do tell an adult but are told to ignore their harassers or turn the other cheek. Make no mistake, the constant barrage of verbal, physical, and cyber bullying children experience today is not the same bullying you grew up with. It is much more violent and profound.

It is not the playground bully stealing lunch money anymore. Instead, modern bullying often falls into a category known as "herd mentality," where when one "cool" kid picks on or harasses an "uncool" kid for whatever reason, and other children who want to be liked by the cool kid will join in on the abusive behaviours toward the uncool kid. Like what happened to a Brisbane boy named Tyrone Unsworth who killed himself last year at age 13, after enduring years of homophobic bullying.

Now, I've generalised those terms into kid-speak, but I think you get the gist. These are the types of cases where often, unflattering photos or videos of an unknowing individual are uploaded to the Internet where the onslaught of cyberbullying from classmates is then infused by harassment from complete strangers from across the globe.

For youngsters trying to find their way in the world, fitting into their social surroundings means everything. To be ostracised is one thing, but to be constantly inundated with abusive and disparaging comments and threats around the clock in addition to physical assaults, day in and day out, is another thing entirely. Young children and teens do not possess the coping mechanisms or resiliency to endure such abuse and willingly pursue the only way they know to put an end the harassment and bullying: suicide.

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NoBullying.com has some shocking statistics about the number of bullying-related suicides in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The fact that youngsters who are bullied are nine times more likely to contemplate and attempt suicide is a testament to just how bad things have gotten. Additionally, ABC News reports that suicide numbers for 2016 were higher than they had been in more than a decade and their additional statistics are equally as alarming.

The good news, however, is that even though bullying has become so systemic, it has also been brought into the spotlight and more organisations are setting up programs to help those who are being victimised. The National Centre Against Bullying is just one agency that is working to educate communities about how to identify and resolve bullying issues.

Bullying across all levels of society has gotten out of control, but there is still time to turn the tide back toward a more compassionate and empathetic way of life. If you or someone you know is the victim of bullying, contacting one of the following agencies is the first step to finding relief:

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/

http://au.reachout.com/cyberbullying

 

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Wonder Woman and the Lack of Modern Day Heroines

If you are like me, you grew up watching boys having all the fun with their superhero action figures and you were handed a Barbie doll clad in pink. It wasn't until the Wonder Woman series starring Lynda Carter and Star Wars featuring Princess Leia portrayed by Carrie Fisher both debuted in the mid and late 70’s that we little girls had any strong female role models to look up to.

Since then, female heroines have continued to be surprisingly lacking in the mainstream as compared to the amount that boys have been given. While we may have had She-Ra, Princess of Power (He Man’s twin sister) in the 80’s and Xena, Warrior Princess in the 90’s, most of our role models have been less than adventurous. Strawberry Shortcake and Smurfette hardly conjured images of strong-willed females, rather they reeked of the outnumbered and often overlooked female in a male-dominated society.

Another troubling fact is that traditionally, female heroes (particularly those depicted in comic books and graphic novels) seem to always be lacking in the clothing department, but seemingly well-blessed in their bustiness and curves. This is yet one more overt sexual objectification of women and so contributes to a life of self-image issues for young girls the world over.

And so, it was with great glee that many of us celebrated the small cameo appearance Wonder Woman was afforded in 2016's Batman vs. Superman (sadly, a mediocre movie at best). But when rumours started to fly about a film of her own, Wonder Woman once again sprang to the forefront of many a now adult woman’s attention. For literally decades we have been watching as female heroines have been relegated to supporting roles of the male hero. And to be frank, it’s been an obnoxious wait.

Although female role models for little girls today are still a sparse lot to choose from, there has been progress made as more of them have been presented through movies such as The Hunger Games Trilogy, and the latest Star Wars instalments, The Force Awakens and Rogue One. And for little girls who don’t know about the original Wonder Woman TV series, the upcoming Wonder Woman movie represents another notch in the belt of their too-young-to-understand liberation – the one three waves of feminism throughout history have suffered through and fought to secure.

And that’s what DC Comics and Warner Brother Studios got right with the new Wonder Woman movie. They gave us an empowered woman, one that comes from a long line of other empowered women. In fact, Wonder Woman (aka Diana Prince), is Princess Diana of the island Themyscira, an Amazonian land where there are no men. Instead, these strong women are entirely self-sufficient, having had life blown into them by the Greek gods and goddesses (according to the 1942 origin backstory). They are cooperative and peaceful, yet have been trained as warriors to protect themselves from outsiders.

In February of 1987, after several revamps of Wonder Woman’s life story to reflect actual real-world events, Wonder Woman was charged with the task of bringing peace to “Patriarch's World,” in Wonder Woman vol. 2, #1. This comic was released after the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” series and is significant in that it is basically portrayed the anti-patriarchy: a woman being sent to save the man’s world which has been thrown into chaos by, well, men.

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Now, there are not many little girls that are going to go back and research the backstory of Wonder Woman. But they don’t necessarily need to because they will get enough of Princess Diana’s history in the new movie to know that Wonder Woman uses her mind and morals, to wield her sword and shield in righting the wrongs caused by men. She does not need help from anyone, especially not from a man, but draws upon her own inner strength. She is the fictional big-screen embodiment of the potential every little girl carries within her, and what every woman can be – minus the bullet deflecting bracelets.

 

 

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Wearable Technology: Safety Devices for Modern Women

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Wearable Technology: Safety Devices for Modern Women

It’s a sad state of affairs that in the 21st century, and as far as we have come toward women's equality, there is more concern about violence directed at women today than at any other time in history.

In Australia last year, and presumably this year as well, in addition to the widespread epidemic of domestic violence, many serial sex predators are operating in every state, many of whom have eluded capture for years, if not decades. With technology, the amount of personal information continuously available through social media platforms, dating apps, and geo-tagging, not to mention apps like the iPhone’s “Find Friends,” it seems that technology is making tracking down and stalking victims easier than ever.

In fact, a survey of 3,000 Australians, aged 18-54, found that incidents of online threats, sexual harassment and "revenge pornography" (the non-consensual sharing of nude or partially nude images and videos) have become quite common. And women who dare to take any stance online that counters the male majority opinion are routinely "trolled," being subjected to threats of violence, rape, and death by perpetrators hiding behind a Twitter handle or masked username. Even the United Nations has weighed in on the topic, pointing out that “…almost three quarters of women online have been exposed to some form of cyber violence.”

In the United States, technology has inadvertently aided assailants in their assault and murder of women through multiple outlets. One example illustrating this tactic is "The Craigslist Killer," who met and killed his victim via the popular online classifieds ads site Craigslist. In today’s ever-connected society, where dating, meeting up, and “hooking up” are all somewhat blindly digitally arranged, it has become increasingly easy to implicate technology in many of the acts of violence toward women.

But in technology’s defence, there is an emerging line of wearable technology products that can actually save a woman from being assaulted. A long way from the Care Alert emergency call button necklaces worn by senior citizens for decades, this new generation of wearable technology appears to be just another piece of jewellery or benign accessory to the unknowing.

Here are a few of the top choices:

Nimb Ring

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The Nimb Ring is stylish and sleek. Although a bit large for a ring, it still appears to be nothing more than a piece of jewellery. The Nimb pairs with an app on your mobile phone, where you get to input who you want your emergency signal to be sent to – emergency services, family, or friends. Simply press the button for three seconds, and the ring sends a distress signal through your phone's Nimb app to alert your pre-determined responders with your location and profile. The Nimb also has an audio recording device that can come in particularly handy in certain situations.

Mangos Ring

Another ring, the Mangos Ring performs in a similar manner to the Nimb. Once again, pressing the alert button sends a distress signal through an app on your phone, which sends a text with your location to pre-determined recipients.

Safer Smart Jewellery

This pendant necklace appears to be nothing more than another stylish accessory, but it's packed with technology that connects to your phone via Bluetooth to send an alert to your pre-selected contacts with your location details when tapped twice. There is even an audible alarm that works similarly to the panic button on your car remote. 

There are several other styles of smart jewellery and devices, which all function in very similar fashion as those already mentioned. Some of the more popular are:

1.      Safelet Bracelet – Pairs with a matching smartphone app to let you build and notify your “guardianship.”

2.      Athena – A discreet, yet stylish clip-on device that pairs with the Roar smartphone app

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3.      The Allen Band – Looks like a bracelet-style fitness device, but can send an emergency SOS signal in addition to monitoring heart rate and body temperature as well as being able to detect falls, lack of motion, and GPS location.

4.      Revolar – Another clip-on device that pairs with a matching smartphone app. Sends colour coded alerts based upon the number of times the distress button is pressed. One click = routine check in. Two clicks = request help from family or friends. Three clicks = emergency services dispatched to your location.

5.      Siren Ring – Literally a siren. This ring produces an audible 110 Db alarm, able to be heard up to 50 feet away. The point though is that at close range, the alarm is piercing and serves as a deterrent to would-be attackers.

Although any one of these devices can significantly increase your chance of receiving timely assistance in an emergency, most of them send your distress signals through your smartphone. If you are in an area where cell signal is dodgy or non-existent, your distress signal won't make it out. Likewise, if your phone is turned off or the battery runs out, any SOS you attempt to send out will not transmit.

In the digital age, the best policy is still to always make sure someone knows where you are going, who you are going with, and when you'll be checking back in to let them know you're okay. For all the good technology has brought about, including wearable safety devices, sometimes keeping it old school analog is the safest bet.

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Never underestimate the power of a Woman

Never Underestimate

 

Released by recording artist Klymaxx in 1981, the song, “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman” borrowed a slogan coined by the advertising agency of Ladies Home Journal forty years earlier. It is a sad reality, however, that this maxim brings to light the fact that women are still devalued and under appreciated for their contributions to civilisation 76 years later.

Through their repression the world over, women are quite often treated as secondary citizens by the members of a reigning patriarchy which continues to govern modern society. Although great strides toward women’s equality have been made in most industrialised countries, the greater threat of abuse and maltreatment of women and girls continues to linger.  

And while the victimisation and objectification of women runs rampant in today’s mainstream rape culture, advertising industry and ongoing trend of domestic violence targeting women, so many are still choosing to follow in the historic footsteps of their foremothers – those who forged the women’s suffrage path – to make their voices heard and their worth known to the world.

The burdens that women routinely bear are no small feats, and in fact, demonstrate the power that each estrogen-laden being possesses. All around the globe, women assume most domestic responsibilities or care work in their homes, and in many instances, these duties are in addition to a full-time job. 

And by "domestic," I mean housekeeping chores, cooking, child-rearing, and providing elder-care. Worldwide, it is estimated that women spend two to ten times more time on unpaid care work than men. To put that more plainly, males spend more time on leisure activities each day while women spend more time doing unpaid housework. This means there is less time for education, relaxation, or self-care for most the world’s female population – a stark contrast to what men enjoy. 

Further, women continue to suffer from laws in 90% of the world’s countries, particularly in developing nations, which prevent them from acquiring an education, obtaining employment outside the home, being paid wages equal to their male counterparts, or enjoying the same freedoms and liberties that men are afforded.

But despite all that, women continue to rise up and brave their environs, to put their best foot forward, to dream of a day where they are just as able to thrive in this world as their fathers and brothers. 

For, you see, a woman’s power lies within her ability to endure, her capacity for empathy, and her continued sense of selfless duty to others while recognising the greatness of her own spirit.

Each woman is born with the essence to own her destiny and a sense of being a part of a larger entity. Whether she is permitted to fulfil her role in this world, or not, a woman is an awesome display of courage against the odds. 

Because she will wait patiently for the time to come where she can spread her wings. She will shoulder the load, stifle her tears, and overcome her fear of walking alone after dark because she knows there is something better in store for her. 

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It is one of man's greatest mistakes to underestimate a woman's power, courage, contribution, or strength. And when millions of women from all seven continents decide to band together as they did on January 21, 2017, their power becomes unignorably evident. 

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Master of your destiny

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“Coercive Control.” That is the title given to the type of controlling relationship many people, particularly young females, find themselves trapped within. The term was coined by Evan Stark, the founder of one of the first battered women's shelters in America. He also used the label as the title of his 2007 book, Coercive Control: The Entrapment of Women in Personal Life which discusses domestic violence at great length.

Coercive control is not just a title, however. It is the apt description for a type of relationship where a dominant partner methodically establishes control over the other. The behaviour is not exclusive to heterosexual couples. There are many well-documented instances of same-sex relationships that fit the same characteristics.

Some of the tactics employed by the abuser start off seemingly harmless enough as criticisms. But over time, they evolve into much more serious offences including isolating victims from friends and family, threats (to harm the victim, to harm themselves, to take children, etc.), manipulation, stalking, and abuses that include verbal, physical, and sexual. It is a sad reality that for many young, inexperienced people, coercive control can feel like love.

Speaking during an event held at an event held in 2015, Stark stated to his audience, "It's not what the man does to her, it's what he prevents her from doing for herself." He continued, "Every battered woman I've ever met has a dream, plans for her life, but her partner responds with coercive control. It's the level of control, not the level of violence, that predicts how much danger she's in."

And that point brings us to the topic of how reclaiming your power from an unhealthy relationship can embolden you to live the life you always wanted. First, admitting that you are in an abusive or unhealthy relationship is never easy. And often, physically leaving the situation can be even more challenging. But taking control of the reigns of your life once more often begins with just one word, and that word is, “no.” As in, “No more,” “No, I don’t need you,” or “No, I won’t have to come crawling back to you.”

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Finding your self-confidence and recognising your worth can be challenging if an abusively dominant partner has spent any amount of time conditioning you to believe otherwise. It may be through counselling, therapy, community-based support activities, support groups, a practice of daily affirmations, physical activity, self-defence training or a combination of any of those, but the day can and will come that you are once again in control of your life. 

Napoleon Hill once famously said, “You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” Once you have escaped the bonds of coercive control and rediscovered your own power, there is nothing to stop you from achieving everything you once dreamed you could.

And many times, those who do survive and escape abusive relationships go on to some of the most successful and thriving members of society, often starting initiatives to help other victims of abuse find a way out of their dire situations. Nobody has the right to control or abuse you. You have the right to live your life happily, and recognising your own power to do so is a critical element of freeing yourself from the bonds of abuse and recovering to become the lively and prosperous person you were meant to be.

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It's in Our Best Interests, Until It Isn't!

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As children and in school we are raised under the rule of authoritarians in the form of parents and teachers, and in university, although we are allowed a bit more autonomy, we are still within the power of the faculty. On any given day, many individuals hold power over each one of us. From the Prime Minister to the police to our employer. But for the most part, the power those people or institutions hold over us is for our protection and is in our best interests.

When those people in our lives, whether it be at home, school, or work, begin to misuse that power or exert an excessive amount of authority, it becomes more than just looking after our best interests. It becomes abuse.

Often, people are not aware that the grip of abuse is tightening around them until it’s too late. Things start off well and fine, but then a comment comes. It seems innocent enough; they were just concerned about your whereabouts for safety reasons. Right?

And then, you’re not able to go out with friends this weekend because you had a row when you mentioned you wanted to meet your mates, and your partner didn't think it was such a good idea. Honestly, your partner doesn't trust your judgement sometimes and doesn’t want you around people who might compromise your integrity or morals. They’re just looking out for you.

And before you know it, you don’t even bother to ask to go out anymore, because nobody asks you to join them anymore. Because you said no too many times. Because it’s just easier that way. There are no fights if you make no requests. And there are no bruises if you just do everything your partner wants you to do. Or asks you to do. Or doesn't ask you to do, because you should just know by now what they want and expect. The equal partnership you were once a part of is now a one-sided domination, and you are not on the winning team.

And just like that, you’ve lost yourself.

Control and power in an abusive relationship

Although I’ve used a domestic partnership to illustrate one type of controlling and abusive relationship, there are many other types. Controlling or abusive relationships can happen at school, work, or home and the form of abuse can come in any combination of these:

  • verbal
  • psychological
  • physical
  • sexual
  • financial
  • intimidation
  • isolation

 Intimidation is the tool most often employed by an abuser to establish and maintain dominance over their victim. They exert their power in the form of coercive or controlling behaviours using various schemes to convince their victims they do not have an equal voice in the relationship. 

Being masters of manipulation, abusers utilise a broad range of different tactics to subdue their victims including, but not limited to:

  • psychological punishment: in the forms of guilt trips, silent treatment, swearing, and nagging
  • traumatic tactics: explosive anger, violence, other forms of physical abuse
  • positive reinforcement: smiling, gifts, and praise
  • negative reinforcement

There is a rhythm cycle to the evolution of controlling and ongoing abuse, and in a condensed account this is how it usually goes:

Gain trust: The abuser wins their victim's trust by showering them with charm, attention, and loving behaviours

Over-involvement: The abuser begins to display an overly involved interest in their victim’s day to day activities

Patterns of jealousy and institution of petty rules: One by one, new rules affecting the victim’s “appropriate” behaviours are set in place and enforced by the abuser. Jealousy and possessiveness, of course, are demonstrations of love.

 Power, control, and manipulation: At this point, the victim is coerced or manipulated into accepting blame for and believing they are the cause of the abuser’s behaviours

Traumatic bonding: Repeated cycles of abuse, followed by loving attention (reward and punishment often lead to traumatic bonding. When these bonds are firmly established both the abuser and their victim are resistant to any change in their relationship. This is evidenced by battered women who refuse to leave their abusive mates even after outside intervention.

How to break the cycle of abuse

Many victims of abuse become so conditioned by their victimiser's maltreatment that they genuinely believe they deserve the treatment they are being subjected to. It is important to know that nobody deserves to be abused or violated. The first step in breaking free from abuse is realising your self-worth and establishing a commitment to yourself to leave the relationship.

Leaving the abuser and staying away is often the hardest part of the entire recovery process for most victims.

Seeking outside help is almost always a necessity in successfully leaving an abuser. These are a few suggestions on what types of sources should be sought out while, or after leaving an abusive relationship:

  • Call 000 for immediate assistance if you are in danger
  • Legal Intervention: File a restraining order against your abuser
  • Attend self-defence training: Learn how to protect yourself from violent attackers
  • Confidant: Find a trustworthy person you can confide in and ask for help. This person can also serve as a "sponsor" to talk you through feelings of reconciliation toward your abuser
  • Lifeline: Call 131 114, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732): 24 hour national sexual assault, family and domestic violence counselling line.
  • Department of Human Services – Apply for financial assistance, social work counselling, and third party referrals

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To write a name...

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To write a name...

When you look around today at all the adverts, magazine covers, and prime time television, it is easy to see that after all this time, women are still held firmly beneath the thumb of a patriarchy which has no regrets.

We, women, are constantly pitted against one another in a competition as objects to be admired, and then cast aside by the very same admirers. There is a term for what many women today experience, within which is captured the very essence of our blind conditioning. In many instances, those who have been taken captive against their will become so indoctrinated by the ideologies of their captors that they, the victims, eventually adopt the same philosophies. It's called Stockholm Syndrome, and like victims of a kidnapping, we XX chromosome carriers have been taken prisoner.

Society has covertly placed us within the chains of its captivity, and we have unknowingly adopted its principals. We use platforms such as social media to publicly cast judgments against our sisters in the forms of body-shaming, victim blaming, and outright terrorising, just as the members of the patriarchy have done for countless millennia.

Instead, we should be rallying and communing with one another. Bolstering the collective self-worth and self-confidence of our sorority ought to be at the centre of a loving relationship with each one of our sisters. Sadly, however, this is not our reality. 

Women in industrialised western countries today have the luxury of deciding whether they want to call themselves feminists or not. Their privileged position allows them to stand for a misogynistic egomaniac like Donald Trump to "grab them by the…"  and still become the president of a country that unabashedly touts itself as the leader of the free world.

In many other nations, though, women are worth less than the livestock their husbands own. In Afghanistan for example, women serve just two purposes. The first is to keep the domestic chores in order and rear children. The second purpose, much more physically laborious and taxing, is to serve whatever needs their husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, and any other in a list of men may want satisfied.

Women there are not allowed to possess their own agency. Meaning, they are literally a possession of their father's until they are old enough to be married, which is roughly 12 or 13 years of age. At that point, they become the property of their husband. 

They cannot attend school, own property, or keep any wages they may happen to earn incidentally. They cannot say no when their drunk husbands demand sex. If they refuse, they are beaten into submission. If they are raped outside of marriage, they are murdered in "honour killings" to save face for their father or husband. Because obviously if a woman is raped, it is her fault for tempting her attacker, right?. 

I know all these things to be true because I spent a year in Afghanistan as a Soldier, and I opened a Women's Centre in the Zhari District of Kandahar. The literal birthplace of the Taliban.

The women I worked with shared with me the stories of the hardships they endured. But their bruises and scars told me so much more. These women, many of them cast aside as widowers after their husbands had been killed during an ever-raging conflict, could not read or write. They could not find work to earn even the most meagre of wages because of their gender, and to sign official documents, they used simply a thumbprint to represent their identity.

In our Women's Centre, we started a program to teach these women the Arabic alphabet, and very basic levels of reading and writing. We taught them how to make jewellery, sew handbags, and trade supplies with one another. And when each class graduated, we sold all their crafted jewellery and handbags to American and Afghan Soldiers and Afghan police outside our compound. We then returned 100% of the profits to the women. The only catch was that to be paid their wages they had to sign their names. For the first time in their lives, these women were afforded their own independent identity. With that, came a feeling completely foreign to most of them: pride.

I share these memories of mine not to garner sympathy for the plight of Afghan women (although awareness that these events still occur rampantly is the only way to ever affect change). But rather, to help you see that the life liberties we so often take for granted are better cherished and shared with one another. These freedoms and rights we have are best used to support our sisters and their endeavours, rather than helping to hold them down.  

When we women band together, we are an unstoppable force in helping each woman realise her full potential and merit. And further, to feel pride each time she hears her name, or better, writes it as a symbol of her self-possessed agency and independence.

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Let's bring our girls home safe!!

AP8 Fierce Females has fine tuned and polished our women's self defence - school program, until it is all shiny and perfect.  With 2017 well underway, we are throughly enjoying our time at All Saints Anglican School. Stacey Ward, has been so welcoming and the students are delightful young ladies, eager and keen to develop their very own fierce.  

The growth already seen in these young ladies is huge. which is a fantastic reminder about the good that can be achieved, when women unite and share knowledge. A smile rides my face knowing that, not only will these young ladies never get in a domestic violence situation, but that they are armed with the skills to help friends and family also. This reminds, drives and pushes me harder and harder to get our program into all schools. Ending the cycle of violence one empowered woman after another. Let's bring our girls home safe!

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Hills International College 2016 Graduates

Ladies and Gentleman I am proud to introduce you to our Hills International College graduates of Find Your Fierce.

Through sweat, tears, laughter, shared stories and most of all loads of fun these five ladies have successfully graduated Find Your Fierce as fully fledged Fierce Females.

Please put your hands together, for the Fearless, Independent, Responsible, Courageous,  and Empowered Betty, Cathy, Rachael, Chantelle and Brianna.

We are so proud to see them successfully graduate our Women's Self Defence Program. Go Girls!!

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When is the best time to FIND YOUR FIERCE? Anytime!!!!!

Find Your Fierce is coming to Anytime Fitness Ormeau!!!

We are super excited to announce that we will be running our women's self defence course  (Find Your Fierce) this November at Anytime Fitness Ormeau.

What is Find Your Fierce? Find your fierce has been developed by women for women. Our fully comprehensive course covers everything you as a women need to stay safe. Over 10 modules, students learn not only physical defence techniques and skills but also how to psychologically defend, and neutralize situations. 

Click here to find out more. 

A breakdown of the course content is available here.

Perfectly timed for school leavers. 

 Mums and Dad's - with schoolies right around the corner, why not give your daughter the knowledge and skills she needs to make the right decisions, to keep her and her friends safe. 

Course dates and times are below:

Sunday 6th November 2016 - 8am- 2pm

Sunday 13th November 2016 - 8am- 2pm

Sunday 20th November 2016 - 8am- 2pm

Sunday 27th November 2016 - 8am- 2pm

Sunday 4th December 2016 - 8am- 2pm

Got Questions? Or need more information? Contact us below and we will gladly help you out :)

Name *
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 Narcissism and it's role in domestic abuse

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Narcissism and it's role in domestic abuse

 Narcissism and it's role in domestic abuse 

I recently discovered a super informative document the was prepared by Dr Jeanne King, Ph.D. She discusses the role narcissism and narcissistic behaviours play in domestic violence and abuse.  There may be more behind your partners abusive behaviours than simple bad behaviour, there may be psychological issues that need to be addressed prior to starting couples counselling or repairing your relationship. 

Narcissistic Abuse
When the Psychopathology Is the Structural Basis for Domestic Abuse

by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

Domestic abuse survivors ask if abusers can really change. My belief is that in cases of well-established psychiatric disorders, it can be extremely problematic. The more severe the psychopathology, the less likely one can expect lasting behavioural change.

For example, Raymond is an expert emotional exploiter. That is another way of saying that he is a domestic abuser who most commonly reaches for the emotional abuse tactic to exert his control. And in addition to this well practiced strategy, there is a long-standing psychiatric condition that is character-logically rooted.

He has a narcissistic personality disorder, with anti-social and borderline features. The likelihood of Raymond changing his abusive behaviour is truly a function of his addressing the core psychiatric condition, as well as the domestic abuse dynamics.

The unfortunate fact with respect to prognosis in these cases is that people with advanced psychopathology, as in this particular condition, may enter into a batterer’s program without psychological treatment for the underlying psychiatric issue. You may then see the core dynamics transferred to another outlet of expression.

Separate Conditions Require Separate Treatments

Conversely, psychotherapy without domestic abuse treatment can lead to an incomplete resolution of the partner abuse dynamics. In Raymond’s case, he had already undergone psychological treatment for years and still managed to retain and perfect his battering behaviour.

The psychotherapy intervention may teach a patient how to manage their mental illness without changing the dysfunctional abusive control dynamics characteristic in their intimate relationships. In cases like this, the patient's psychopathology continues to fuel their abusive behaviour.

If the two comorbid conditions: the domestic abuse and the personality disorder are not addressed independently as two separate conditions, then successful nonviolent interpersonal behaviour change probably won’t be realised, much less sustained.

The Mind of the Emotional Manipulator

For example, Raymond may come to recognise that the use of verbal abuse and psychological character assaults are unacceptable, and remain unaware of how his use of emotional exploitation violates his partner. From his point of view, his partner’s experience is her experience and her responsibility to modulate.

His use of her sustained emotional stirring is his means for maintaining control when and where he believes he may be losing it. It is merely a leveraging technique that he views as benign, yet useful strategically in his getting his way and maintaining his power in the relationship.

He clearly fails to recognise the domestic abuse dynamics in play, all while he remains unable to comprehend the impact of his actions on his partner. These limitations are a function of the psychopathology. Expecting empathy from someone with a narcissistic personality disorder is like expecting an intimate kiss from someone without lips. It can’t happen, because the basis for an empathic response does not exist.

When you attempt to seek empathy from someone incapable of embracing another’s experience, it is much like expecting your cat to bark. Cats don’t bark. Period. The kindest thing one can do is to accept an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder for who they are, and not expect them to be any different, especially without proper intervention. These individuals simply do not have the capacity for empathy and they cannot function without yours.

They are emotionally dependent, and emotionally absent with respect to compassion for their significant other…unless “for show” as part of a manipulation. As in the case of this example, it is paramount that the core psychiatric issues be addressed as central components in the domestic abuse dynamics.

Treatment Prognosis and Expectations

One would need to effectively deal with the core psychiatric issues of entitlement, privilege, universal disregard for the rights and needs of others, affect modulation and fear of abandonment (real or imagined), independent of the domestic abuse intervention, while at the same time being mindful of how these conditions overlap wherein the dynamics of one support the other.

A major problem that people run into in their effort to remedy the domestic abuse under these circumstances is that personality disorders are highly resistant to psychotherapeutic intervention. These disorders are fundamentally immutable to change. What one can realistically expect, however, is to acquire management strategies for coping with the disorder.

If you are in an abusive relationship with someone that has severe psychiatric issues, be realistic in your expectations for change with respect to successfully interrupting the dynamics of intimate partner violence. Seek to obtain an accurate assessment of the psychiatric landscape from a qualified healthcare professional as part of your efforts to end domestic abuse in your relationship. Once you identify the underlying psychological dynamics that trigger the abuse, you are better equipped to heal and end the abusive cycle.

Sourced from:

 http://www.preventabusiverelationships.com/articles/narcissistic_abuse_domestic_violence_521.php

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Ridiculousness of victim blaming!

With a simple swap of words this video highlights just how ridiculous victim blaming really is! As you watch the video, in your mind replace the word "MURDER" with the word "RAPE".  Another great production from BlueSeatStudios 

In it's delightfully satirical manner, this light little video addresses a dark issue - VICTIM BLAMING!

If we can only be responsible for our own actions and behaviours, how on earth is a victim responsible for their attackers actions? Crazy right? Yet victim blaming continues to happen in a monumental fashion, especially when it comes to sexual assault.

Sexual assault is an act of violence. The attacker is asserting power over the victim in an attempt to control them. 

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Gender Equality's role in Domestic Violence

Thank you to OUR WATCH for this beautifully presented video highlighting how gender equality in Australia plays a huge role in our rates of domestic violence/ violence against women.  

The statistics are real! The evidence is real! It is not a private issue to be left to the individuals involved, it is a national problem that we must all take responsability for. It is a cultural change needed from grass roots levels that will make the real difference.

What effect does your actions have on another?

Are you demonstrating and upholding gender equality?

Are you in a respectful relationship? 

It is our current actions, that set the tone for the next generation. It is our actions now, (as minor as they may feel) that change not only our lives but those in your immediate circle of friends and family. 

Your courage will empower others!!

Invest in your own safety, and happiness today! 

 

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What do you really really want?

Regardless if your a fan of the Spice Girls first single or not.. You cant help but love this video's message and the awesome performers in it!

We are simply in love with this fun and exciting video. In its high energy, fun, and enthusiastic way this video addresses some of the most serious issues that women face around the world.

The key messages in this video not only 100% represent AP8 Fierce Females but also many women around the world.

End violence against women.

Quality Education for all girls.

End child marriage.

Equal pay for equal work.

Lets get together girls and shout it out loud - We want equality, safety and respect! 

 

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We were voted number 1!!!!!

YAY... AP8 Fierce Females - Women's Self Defence Won!!!

YAY... AP8 Fierce Females - Women's Self Defence Won!!!

We seemed to be the crowd favourite!

They counted up all the tokens for the month of May and Grill'd guests decided that they wanted AP8 Fierce Females - Women's Self Defence to receive the biggest donation of $300.

A HUGE thank you, for all our supporters, friends, family and loved ones for your votes/coins.

We are super proud to announce that our winnings have been donated to the AMAZING paramedics that help to treat not only domestic violence victims, but also 100's and 1000's of everyday Australians. We have also managed to sponsor one free course for a STAAR member at our next course running at Anytime Fitness Helensvale

Another fantastic thank you for Grill'd Local Matters, for supporting local community groups and helping us bring Womens Self Defence Courses to women in need :)

Thanks to the Grill'd Team at Harbourtown !!

Thanks to the Grill'd Team at Harbourtown !!

Thanks to our supporters, we couldn't have done it without you!!

Thanks to our supporters, we couldn't have done it without you!!

Are you a FIERCE VIP? Want to be one?  Click here to join the fun, and feel the VIP treatment :)

 

 

 

 

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