Women and girls have great mental and physical strength. They are stronger than they realise and stronger than their aggressors think. Although we must educate men to believe that violence against women is never acceptable, attacks will continue to happen. I believe that developing the ability to identify the early warning signs of violence, and the confidence to respond, equips girls and women with essential life skills.
Patrick William Moore runs workshops for women in Australia and India with the theme, You Are Stronger Than You Think. His approach is pragmatic, focusing on simple empowerment and violence prevention strategies that girls and women can apply immediately. More than just a self-defence program, the workshop is about building confidence and inner strength, taking action and taking control. This holistic approach goes beyond the physical and empowers women to recognise the clues and behaviours that lead to violence and to respond with an early intervention into the violence cycle. Supplementing this practical work, Patrick has created a ‘stop the violence’ photo campaign site on Facebook. This shows people around the world making a visual statement of defiance and solidarity against violence towards women by holding out two hands, one balled into a fist to represent the violence and the other held up flat like a stop sign, symbolising the idea that the violence must cease.
Born in Sydney, Patrick believes that his parents, through the ideas they conveyed in conversations around the dinner table, influenced him greatly. His mother, June Moore, one of the first women to qualify as a lawyer at the University of Sydney, always fought for justice, especially for the underprivileged. His father, David Moore, was a commercial lawyer who became President of the Anti-Discrimination Board. Patrick maintains that they both used the law to help create a more just world for the disempowered. After high school Patrick followed in their footsteps by studying law part-time. However, it was the different jobs he did during the day that led to his current career. These included stunt work in action movies, which required learning many types of martial arts. He then began to teach martial arts at police youth clubs, and in consequence was asked to teach self-defence to girls at a Sydney high school.
The impetus to focus on teaching women how to resist being victims occurred when Patrick ran his first self-defence course for a class of 13-14-year-old schoolgirls. Asking them to think about when they might have felt in danger, he was shocked by their responses, the stories about what many of them lived through every day. One girl told a story about being fondled sexually in a supermarket in the middle of the day. She had not known what to do and had simply frozen from fear and embarrassment. Patrick was shaken by this story and decided that he would do something to help. Over the past two decades he has introduced women to boxing, martial arts and verbal assertiveness as empowerment tools.
In India Patrick has presented his You Are Stronger Than You Think classes to groups at the US Embassy, Save the Children, Naz India, Jindal Global University, and at various orphanages, colleges and villages in Haryana State in northern India. In Australia he has worked with Sister2Sister, Barnados, Inspiring Women, the University of Technology in Sydney, and Aboriginal communities in Western Australia including Balgo and Mulan. His empowerment book, Touch the Sky, and his mind/body seminars, fighting fit classes and women’s empowerment programs have featured on Channel 9’s ‘Today’ show, Channel 7’s ‘Sydney Weekender’ and George Negus’s ‘Health Dimensions’. There has also been coverage in Business Review Weekly, body+soul, The Sydney Morning Herald, and on the ABC’s Radio National and Triple J networks.
Patrick believes that while it will be difficult to completely eradicate violence against girls and women, people can develop the confidence and skills to eliminate violence from their own lives. He is dedicated to providing the education, skills and support which they need to do this.