Miss USA Stands by Statement that Self-Defense Can Help Prevent Sexual Assault

by Molly Wharton

In a HuffPost Live interview on Thursday, Miss USA Nia Sanchez defended a controversial statement about sexual assault that she had made during the competition. Sanchez had suggested that women should learn self-defense abilities in order to help protect themselves from assault, which some interpreted to mean that women are wholly responsible for preventing violence against themselves. She was criticized extensively on social media, which you can read about in Andrew’s article here. 

In the interview, Sanchez didn’t back down from her statement. “I feel like all you can do up on that stage on national television is answer the best you personally know how, so I answered with something that I know,” she explained. “I always believe in women’s empowerment and women’s encouragement and for me, in my life, that’s self defense. Maybe for somebody else it’s a Taser or something else, but that’s the way I could relate to it personally.”

She noted that parents should do their best to bring up their children in a healthy environment. But “unfortunately, the world we live in is not always as safe as we hope it could be,” she said. “So why not take more control into your own hands and feel confident to protect yourself.”

Watch Sanchez defend her answer here.