New Miss USA Says Women Need to 'Learn to Protect Themselves'

On Sunday, the Miss USA pageant title was awarded to a 24-year-old woman who is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

The title went to Miss Nevada Nia Sanchez who holds a fourth degree black belt. In her question-and-answer segment, she expressed some ideas about on campus rape that might make you do a little bit of a double take. Via Reuters:

Sanchez, who wore an intricate red gown during the latter part of the three-hour nationally broadcast contest, addressed the issue of sexual assault on college campuses during a question-and-answer session faced by all six finalists. Sanchez said she felt some colleges, fearing a bad reputation, might sweep the problem under the rug, and that "More awareness (of the issue) is very important so that women can learn to protect themselves."

She added that as a 4th degree black belt, she learned "you need to be confident and be able to defend yourself ... That's something we need to start to implement for a lot of women."

While I certainly admire how hard she's worked to obtain her status as a black belt, college women shouldn't have to "learn to protect themselves." College men should "learn not to rape." But somehow I doubt we're going to hear those words come out of the mouth of a national beauty pageant contestant anytime in the near future.

Would it hurt if we all become black belts to defend against possible violent threats? No. But why should we have to? What about women who don't want to spend several hours a week taking self defense classes just to protect themselves against rapists at their schools? What about women who have a physical disability that prohibits that? Are they not "confident" enough to defend themselves? Also, how well do you think all my self-defense training is going to work when I'm unwittingly drugged? How about colleges becoming "confident" enough to discipline and expel male student rapists?Why the hell should I have to become Bruce Lee just because I want to get an advanced degree?

I appreciate that she wants to discuss the issue of rape on campus (which absolutely is being swept under rug by way too many schools). But placing the responsibility on women to become more "confident" and learn to protect themselves just isn't the way to do it.

Image via AP.