I just witnessed an assault, the type of assault that the very self defense techniques I taught yesterday in Babuan would have made a difference in.  This all took place on the train platform about 70 yards from where I was standing (across the street and on the rooftop of the house I’m staying at while hanging my laundry to dry).  A man grabbed the wrist of woman who obviously did not want to go with him.  She sat down on the ground as he pulled at her arm.   He was verbally berating her, but she sat her ground and did not get up.  But finally, after about half an hour of this, and despite a small crowd of people, she stood.  She then protested some more, at which point the man grabbed her by the hair and shoved her in the direction he wanted her to go.  She protested and sat down again.  He grabbed her wrist and started pulling, and she reluctantly stood up and he led her alternately by hair, wrist, and shoulders down the train platform and out of sight.

There was one thing that struck me as I witnessed this:  first, if she had had the techniques to fight back, would she have?  It seemed that she finally just gave in.  Maybe she thought, ultimately, she had no choice.  And this is the prison of what a lack of education and exposure to new ideas creates.  It is why my heart jumps every time I see a school here.  It is why I gently admonish the students who rush out of class to see the white foreigner back to their studies.  Because without education, I could be just like that woman.


  1. katie mckeever said,

    August 29, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    That is so wrong! He had no right to do that to her! That is why im glad that you are there to help those girls/women, if they have skills+ confidence hopfully that will never happen to them.
    keep doing your best, your helping alot of people:)

  2. Belle said,

    August 30, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Katie, it was so hard for me to stand there and just watch. But I knew it would not be smart to rush into the situation, being a foreigner and not knowing the language. What I couldn’t understand was: 1) why no one else was intervening; and, 2) why she ended up going with him? Why didn’t she run when she had a chance? And she had a few times that she could have. I really believe that in the end, she just thought she didn’t have a choice, and she just gave up. So sad. I hope the girls I’m teaching know they have a choice.

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