Maids at New York's Pierre hotel are taking self-defense classes to help them fend off "persistent perverts." It's a little sad that this seems like such a good idea.
According to the NY Post, the hotel, where banker Mahmoud Abdel Salam Omar assaulted a maid last month in a case eerily reminiscent of the allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, brought in self-defense instructor Mary Ann Carron to teach the maids some moves. She taught them how to strike with a flat hand or stomp on an assailant's foot, maneuvers designed to, in the Post's words, "put even the most persistent perverts in their place." Said one of the maids of Carron, "She was testing you. I feel prepared."
This kind of job preparation might become more common in the wake of the DSK scandal — says John Turchiano, spokesman for a hotel workers' union, "I think some of the other hotels will start doing the same thing." It seems like a wise idea for hotels to acknowledge the risk of assault and train employees to deal with it. At the same time, it's sad that maids have to think about defending themselves from attackers while they're trying to do their jobs. In an ideal world, hotels would be able to protect their employees from sexual assault — and the onus would be on guests not to attack staff, not on staff to defend themselves. As the Omar assault made clear, however, we don't live in that world — and learning to fight back against assholes is probably smart.
Brawlin' Maids Are Ready For A Dust-Up [NY Post]