________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 3 . . . . October 1, 1999

cover Personal Alarm.

Paula Kelly (Director). Liz Jarvis, Paula Kelly & Joe MacDonald (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.
44 min., 30 sec., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 007.

Subject Headings:
Women-Abuse of-Canada.
Self-defense for women-Canada.
Women-Social conditions.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Stephanie Yamniuk.

**.5 /4


In Personal Alarm, women from a wide range of age groups and backgrounds share fears and strategies for personal safety, revealing how the emergence of a culture of violence has forced them to take significant measures to keep themselves - and their children - safe." (Quote taken from the video cover)
In this video, viewers will meet Winnipeg women who have either been a victim of crime or who provide advice on taking action against violence. The video is well documented with quotes from the Winnipeg Free Press, the Winnipeg Sun, and the Winnipeg Police Department. The video focused on the situations of five women but included statistics and interviews with others as well.

      Individuals from several Winnipeg groups that promoted safety for women were interviewed, and they talked about how they were trying to make a difference in the city's awareness of women's safety issues. Several university age groups said that they were going into bars and taking with them signs that said, "No means No," and handing them out to people.

      Mayor Glen Murray, then city councillor, spoke about his experience as a gay man and the fear he feels when he hears footsteps and the voices of men behind him. "I know that I feel myself going into 'defense mode' [when that happens], and I can only imagine that is how some women feel when they hear my footsteps behind them."

      Several recommended ways of taking action are: getting a double lock installed on your doors; putting nails into windows that could be opened from the outside; letting no one in your house without an ID; removing shrubs that may encourage people to hide in them; learning more about women's self-defense courses; or getting a dog for protection.

      I found the video too intense for junior high students and maybe even too intense for some high school students. I felt my fears being played upon rather then relieved. The video was a bit too long for the subject, and it sensationalized the fears of women rather than showing how they cope with fear.

Recommended with Reservations.

Stephanie Yamniuk is the Program Coordinator and Student Advisor in the International Student Exchange Program at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Management.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364