By Benjamin Flowers: With the increased public focus on gender-based violence following allegations of abuse made against an elected official, Renee Wentz, a Marriage and Family therapist and Self Defense Instructor in Belize for 20 years, is reminding that empowerment self-defense is an excellent tool against GBV.
Wentz, the founder of S.H.E (Self-defense = Her Empowerment) Thing Self Defense and Personal Safety, told Breaking Belize News that there are essentially three types of clients she sees with regard to domestic abuse: those who have never experienced it themselves but come from an environment where that sort of behavior existed, those currently in an abusive relationship, and those who managed to escape from an abusive relationship.
Each type of client, she explained, has a unique approach that needs to be adhered to, but a common link between all of them is the need for support and confidence building, which they can get from empowerment self-defense classes.
“A large part of the empowerment aspect is sitting and talking with people and letting them know that this [acts of violence] is wrong. That no one deserves to be treated that way and letting them know that they have the ability to defend themselves,” Wentz said.
She went on to say that when it comes to confidence levels, clients receive a boost when they are taught how to ward off an attacker in various situations but that her main recommendation is still to avoid violent situations where possible.
“I always tell everybody, if you can get away from a terrible situation, getaway, always. But if you are going to be stuck in a terrible situation, then fight,” Wentz added. “You have to know that you can leave, you have to know that you are a person who deserves more than that. I can teach you the physical, but that’s not what empowerment self-defense is. I will sit down with you and I will talk to you about how you actually do this [gain the confidence to leave.]”
Wentz can be contacted through the SHE Thing Facebook page or via phone at 630-5571 for more information.