I wish a book on women’s self-defense wasn’t necessary.

Unfortunately, aggression and violence against women has become a raw reality. So women had better stand their ground. As a woman, you not only have to dare to bite the bullet, but sometimes you also have to be able to defend yourself physically.The book we are presenting to you contains the necessary help to do that in practice.

In addition to training for more resilience, there is also a whole series of prevention tips, both for at home and on the street. Attention is also paid to attitude, communication and assertiveness. Finally, the book also includes a course with exercises for physical self-defense.

This book not only wants to teach you techniques to defend yourself, but also wants to give you the political proposals that should give us, women, a stronger legal and physical position in society. After all, the figures prove that there is a need for more protection, and in particular for the protection of women.

To measure is to know

As a woman, I often feel unsafe on the street. And unfortunately, I’m not alone, because in Antwerp, the city where I live, the numbers don’t lie. As a woman in Antwerp, it is better to be prepared for the streets.

Every year, around 11,000 women in Antwerp fall victim to physical violence, such as assaults and injuries, violent thefts, rape, manslaughter and even (attempted) murder. And then there are the cases of indecent assault, theft with the use or display of a weapon, exhibitionism or human trafficking. Moreover, the vast majority of perpetrators go unpunished. Those are just the “official” figures. The reality is worse, because many women often don’t even report what happened to them to the police.

We also want to encourage women to report something to them. This is very important, if only for the sake of collecting accurate and comprehensive data to better understand and prevent the true extent of crime against women.

Professional profiling

As a politician, I have also been calling for a long time for work to be done on professional profiling of perpetrators of crimes against women.

Professional profiling is keeping as much data as possible about perpetrators of crimes. Both in terms of ethnic origin, but also in terms of parameters such as gender, age, religion, language and nationality(ies).

Professional profiling is not about discriminating against people, but about protecting victims and making decisions for law enforcement based on the statistics.

The police are not there to deal with perpetrators with kid gloves. The police must ensure the safety of everyone, including women. Professional profiling can significantly reduce the risk of women becoming victims.

Multicultural = multicriminal

Mass immigration is directly responsible for a significant increase in street harassment in our major cities. The imported cultures often do not consider women to be equal to men and therefore feel that they are allowed to harass women.

These are acts of physical violence, threats, insults and other forms of aggressive behaviour that create an atmosphere of insecurity. Let’s not beat around the bush: Islam is misogynistic and that’s why women are often hunted game. Only when we stop and push back Islamization will women feel safe again.

While waiting to guarantee the safety of all women and girls on the streets, it is important to be as strong as possible and learn to defend yourself. Learning self-defense techniques is not easy, but it is important for several reasons. It helps you protect yourself from physical harm and also gives you more confidence. Moreover, you take care of yourself in dangerous situations where you cannot count on others. Finally, learning self-defense techniques improves your physical fitness and of course that never hurts.

Extension of lawful (self-)defense

If you take matters into your own hands because the government is failing you, you unfortunately have to take into account all kinds of legislation that threatens to criminalize victims who defend themselves. For example, our criminal law only allows lawful (self-)defence in the defence of one’s own person or of another person under strict conditions. If you’re not careful, you’ll become a perpetrator instead of a victim before you know it…

Under current law, you can only defend yourself if you are physically threatened, not if your property is in danger. Already in 2008 I introduced a bill in the Senate to extend lawful self-defense to defending your property. If we want the fear to change camps, it is high time to include the German and Dutch legal provisions in our legislation. Legislation must be on the side of the victims! Not on the side of the criminals.

Of course, it is not the intention that we all take the law into our own hands. In principle, crime should be curbed by the government. But there are situations in which the government is unable to provide protection when there is an immediate and urgent need for it.

The Pepper Spray Legalizer

Not all women have the time or courage to learn defense techniques on their own. For them, the use of pepper spray is ideal.

In neighboring countries, such as France and Germany, the use and possession of pepper spray is legal for personal self-defense. Unfortunately, this is not the case in our country. Sometimes there are restrictions abroad on the size or chemical composition of the spray and/or the age of the user. In other countries, you need a permit or permission to buy or transport pepper spray. In our country, you can’t buy, possess or use pepper spray.

The Weapons Act of 2006 considers “objects containing tear-inducing substances” to be a prohibited weapon. And the Justice Department goes to great lengths to interpret this. For example, even deodorant and hairspray can be considered a weapon by a judge.

Personally, I have been campaigning for the legalization of pepper spray for years. Therefore, on 6 February 2020, the Vlaams Belang submitted a bill in the Chamber of Representatives to legalise pepper spray in Belgium.

Self-defense is a moral duty

Women are no longer allowed to be hunted game. The so-called ‘weaker sex’ must no longer be easy prey. Therefore, learning self-defense techniques is necessary. After all, what we do ourselves as women, we do better. Or as US President Ronald Reagan once aptly put it: “Self-defence is not only our right, it’s our moral duty.

Anke Van dermeersch

The book is currently only available in Dutch:


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