As I write this, I am aware of an article, in the local paper, that is lying by my side: “Killing of women, child ‘witches’ on rise, U.N. told”. Women and children, in many countries, are being killed and maimed because of poverty and lack of education. And the numbers are staggering.

In the Yukon, we continue to see a great need for protection of women and children.

I am going to quote some numbers but, unfortunately, they are a few years old.

The statistics I will be using are from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Profile, from 2005. I have found it difficult to get more-current numbers, which may indicate a lack of monitoring on a regular basis.

However, these figures are probably reflective of today’s situation. Also, it should be noted that what is actually reported is only a small percentage of what is happening in our society (estimated at only 25 per cent).

1. Violent Crime

Namely, homicide, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, other assaults, other sexual offences, abduction and robbery.

The violent crime rate in the territories was seven times higher than in the provinces.

Among the three territories, Nunavut was highest and was followed by the NWT and the Yukon.

In almost all cases, the Yukon was lowest in comparison to the other territories.

However, the Yukon was one and a half times higher than the highest rate among the provinces.

2. Spousal Abuse

Female victims of spousal violence in the North were twice as likely as males to suffer the most-severe forms of spousal violence, such as being beaten, choked and threatened with or having had a knife used against them or having been sexually assaulted.

Approximately 12 per cent of Northern residents in a current or previous relationship reported being victims of some form of spousal violence in the last five years preceding this survey.

3. Other Forms of Abuse

These can be verbal and/or bullying, which manifests at very young ages.

So, what can be done about this? as a society? as a parent? as an individual?

There are many programs and resources people can access, and in later articles I will list them. However, since these articles are about martial arts, I am going to focus most of my attention in the area of individuals and what we can do to lessen the possibility of assault, as well as what we need to know in order to protect others.

Many of the traditional martial arts are built on the philosophy of defence. One of the basic premises of karate is that there are no first attacks. Judo and aikido are built around not attacking, but upon receiving and neutralizing force.

Tai Chi, Kung fu and other traditional arts also emphasize the concept of defence, over attacking.

Over the next few months, I will write about self-defence and what a person can do to lessen the chance of becoming a victim of abuse. Of course, I welcome feedback from those who want to contribute to this very real problem in our society.

Also, if any group wishes to demonstrate their particular training in self-defence, I am open to come out and see it. Maybe, together, we can assist people in real-life situations.

Todd Hardy has studied and taught a variety of martial arts for over 38 years and has trained with many people from around the world. Would you like to comment on what you read here? Contact him at toddhardymla@gmail.com.