Girls Fight Back was born in direct response to the June 2001 murder of a dynamic, athletic, and loved college student named Shannon McNamara. After Shannon’s death, her friend and sorority sister, Erin Weed, realized the need for practical and empowering options for young women to learn violence prevention and self-defense. Inspired by the way Shannon fought her attacker, Erin immersed herself in training with the best violence prevention experts and self-defense trainers in the world and, from this, developed the GFB seminar. By combining core values, a fun and empowering attitude, and the best safety and self-defense methods available, Girls Fight Back was born.

Girls Fight Back is now under the ownership of Nicole Snell, a speaker, advocate and self-defense expert who is dedicated to carrying on the mission of our empowerment self-defense workshops. Nicole was a Senior National Speaker for the program for 6 years, and  took ownership of Girls Fight Back and all associated programs in 2020.


We have empowered over 1 Million people since 2001!


This sisterhood of the traveling badasses continues to grow and we strive to make preventing violence and fighting back an approachable topic for everyone with the addition of these great programs:

  • Students Fight Back (gender inclusive and Title IX compliant)
  • S.A.V.E. (Safety, Assertiveness, Violence Prevention, Empowerment- gender inclusive)
  • Yes I’m Hiking Solo (gender inclusive and specialized for outdoor enthusiasts)
  • Boundaries for Personal Empowerment (gender inclusive)
  • Fight Back on Spring Break (gender inclusive and specialized with Spring Break safety tips).

The standard program is 75 minutes + Q&A and includes these key components:

  • Using your intuition
  • Safety Strategies – awareness, eye contact, verbal boundaries
  • Risk assessment
  • How to be an active bystander and a good ally
  • The definition of consent
  • How to support a survivor
  • How to set boundaries that work for you
  • Verbal de-escalation skills
  • The best fight is the one never fought!
  • The basics of self-defense in our Badass Basics (or Terminator Tango)
  • Plus a discussion on weapons, ground fighting, and how to sign up for a full-contact adrenaline based self-defense course near you!

Business Certifications:

  • LSBE Certified by LA County
  • LA County Vendor
  • CA Small Business Certification
  • WOSB Certified


VeryWellFit voted Girls Fight Back

2021 Best Online Self-Defense Class for Groups & Organizations!


Students Fight Back offers the same basic skills in Girls Fight Back, because contrary to what society might tell us, people of all genders can sometimes use a helping hand when it comes to learning personal safety and self-defense. And, we can all come together to be active bystanders and create safer communities. This program has a little less girl power and a strong emphasis on how we can all partner together to put an end to violence. It is gender inclusive and Title IX compliant. This program is also 75 mins + Q&A.

Yes I’m Hiking Solo: Ever been worried about your safety when hiking solo? Do you want to feel confident and independent venturing out on your own? Have you been wanting to learn some badass simple and effective self-defense moves? Then join me as I share self-defense strategies to empower you to feel more confident about exploring the outdoors or wherever your adventure takes you. The program is 60-75 minutes + Q&A.

Boundaries for Personal Empowerment is an interactive program designed for any group that wants to feel confident setting boundaries in professional and personal settings.  We discuss the importance of speaking up for your needs, trusting your intuition, and using clear, assertive communication. It will provide tools to help you recognize manipulative behavior as well as feel better equipped to be an active bystander. The goal is to enable you to confidently enforce your boundaries in direct and respectful ways. This program is 60min + Q&A and can be customized to fit a variety of corporate needs.

The Facts about Violence:

  • 1 in 5 young women will experience sexual assault in college.
  • Every 73 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • 56% of Native American and Alaska Native women have experienced sexual violence.
  • 44% of lesbian and 61% of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 2 transgender people will be the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime.
  • More than 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner.
  • Approximately 86% of survivors know their assailants.

Research shows that Empowerment Self-Defense training reduces women’s risk of experiencing violence, including completed and attempted sexual assaults by up to 50%!

Statistics were sourced from:
National Intimate Partner Violence Survey 2016
National Violence Against Women Survey 2000
Uniform Crime Report 2018
National Crime Victimization Survey 2003
Centers for Disease Control National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010



STRONG – We believe that every individual is their best protector. Our strength is not necessarily made up of mere physical muscle, but is built upon making a conscious choice to reclaim our sense of security in the world. We strive to empower individuals to be in control of their lives, to set boundaries that allow them to feel safe, to be wary of anyone who discounts their NO, and to learn how to live a safer life through their actions and help other people around them to do the same.

RESILIENT – Though the statistics are shocking, we are here to say that we will not conform to the violence. Our world and most of our individual lives have been wrongfully altered by violence. We believe in recovery on individual, societal, and world levels. Our message is presented without judgment to how anyone handled or felt about a past violent situation. These are very personal issues and there is no one right way to react or feel, but we can share the tools that empower people to fight back.

SPIRITED – Belief in oneself is essential. We believe that scare tactics do exactly as their name suggests—scare people. Instead, we strive to eliminate the taboo status of topics like violence prevention, self-defense, and personal security. Only by making these topics approachable and encouraging everyone to tell their stories we will begin to change the pattern of violence.

UNIFIED – Though each individual is their own best protector; we also believe that we are here on earth to look out for one another. Protecting yourself is a great first step, the next step is to educate and empower others. By working together we can spread the word about personal safety and self defense, while simultaneously working to tear down the violence. We want to re-enforce the truth that while most sexual assaults are committed by men, most men are not rapists. Though Girls Fight Back is not the answer to solving the problems of all violence that exists . . . we ARE one key part of the solution and we stand together with everyone who strives to combat violence in our world.

Learn about our partnership with: