Category: Men

University of Texas Permian Basin- Falconpalooza Empowerment!

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I had a fabulous time with the students and hosts at UTPB!   I want to send a big thank you to Falconpalooza and Student Life for bringing me out to empower their students. Members of the UTPB Crisis Center and 2 uniformed UTPB Police Officers were in attendance as well which was great! I always love it when the campus community comes together to support a common cause and goal.

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Instead of having just 2 volunteers I had 4 students ready to step in and help me demonstrate our awesome skills! We got it narrowed down to 2 who did an amazing job pretending to be creepers. We covered the importance of trusting your intuition and being an active ally and we covered why an elbow isn’t a first choice if you’re looking for a vulnerable spot to disable an attacker.   An elbow is a great weapon for us to use against an attacker though!

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I fielded a lot of great questions during Q&A including several students who were interested in taking Full Contact Self-Defense classes. One student even commented that since their area is primarily oil infrastructure, a male dominated industry, that there unfortunately are many reports of sexual assaults happening. She emphasized the importance of self-defense training and I chimed in that in addition to self-defense we all need to look out for each other and challenge the rape culture so that we can chip away at the very core of why sexual assaults happen in the first place.

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I hope to come back to UTPB soon and teach even more students how they can be their own best protector and live their lives fearlessly with no apologies!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.28.17 – Youngstown State University – Housing & Greek Life team up!

What do you get when Housing & Residence Life and Greek Life team up to empower their campus community with awesome life skills to be fearless anywhere they go? You guessed it… a Students Fight Back event!

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I was so humbled to learn their Director of Housing & Residence Life remembered us when she hosted our program years ago at another campus…and that’s why she brought us to her new campus. That means the world to us and it is awesome when we hear that our program and message have an impact on people…that’s the whole reason we do this work!

We had an almost even 50/50 mix of men and women in the audience which is always great to see at an SFB event. People of all genders have to work together to end violence in the world and be allies for each other. That’s how we make a safer world for everyone.    IMG_7191 IMG_7182

My 2 demo assistants were fabulous! They helped me illustrate for the audience how hot spots, areas on that body that cause pain and disability, are not gender specific. And the parts of our bodies that we can use to defend ourselves are not gender specific either! That means the techniques we teach can be used by and work on ANYONE! That’s what we call empowerment! The students in the audience were energetic and interacted with me throughout the program which was a blast! We had some great laughs and learned why the pinky finger is probably not the ideal hot spot to aim for.

Thank you so much, YSU, for inviting me to your campus, for welcoming me so graciously and for being so passionate about being your own best protectors! You are all amazing!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

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St. Mary’s University – Together we will end violence!

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A mere 4 hour drive from Beaumont, TX lies the idyllic campus of St. Mary’s University right in the heart of San Antonio. This was the final stop on my Texas tour and in fact 3 campus organizations combined forces to host us: Student Government, Interfraternity Council and Collegiate Panhellenic Council. Thank you all so much for bringing Students Fight Back to your campus!

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I learned from the sponsors in advance of this presentation that due to a more supportive reporting climate at St. Mary’s recently that there have been an increase in sexual assault reports.   Students were on edge and concerned that this was because there were more assaults happening so we discussed this today. We explained that more reports usually means that survivors are feeling more comfortable, supported and confident to report their assaults which explains the uptick in the reporting numbers.   It can seem counterintuitive however; this phenomenon is seen in the sexual assault prevention community quite often so I think we were able to set the students’ minds at ease. We always encourage survivors to report, but that choice lies solely with the survivor and the important thing is to support them no matter what they decide to do.

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Another topic we discussed in depth was the importance of being an ally and active bystander. It is easier than you think and one of our favorite techniques here at SFB is non-complementary behavior. That means responding to the person in a way that is opposite how they’re acting. You can switch the energy around by using humor or asking a completely unrelated question. This is a tactic we can all use and of course, if a situation is violent we recommend calling 911.

During Q&A some great questions came up like “What if a man is being attacked by a woman…do they respond the same way we just learned?” The answer is Yes! If you feel like your life is in danger you are absolutely allowed to defend yourself regardless of your gender identity. Plus the methods we teach can be used on attackers of any gender…all humans have the same ‘hot spots’. We do want to point out that although attacks on men by women do happen, the vast majority of attacks on both men and women are perpetrated by other men. The best advice we can offer is that you have to use your own intuition and awareness to make decisions for yourself in situations that arise in your life.   Bottom line is that you are worth fighting for!

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Thank you again for having me and for being such awesome participants! You are your own best protector now go out and live your life fearlessly!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

Lamar University—Ready and Rearin’ for Spring Break!

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Just a short 30minute drive from my morning presentation at another college in Orange, TX is the beautiful campus of Lamar University. Their students were heading off for Spring Break in a week and they were in need of some awesome Spring Break and Travel survival tips. Don’t worry…we’ve got you covered!

We tackled the basics about leaving the country (or the state), arriving at your hotel, and getting a taxi. Then we dove into some deeper discussions about how to party safe if you’re drinking and remembering that date rape drugs can be slipped into ANY drink…even apple juice. But it’s even more important to note that alcohol itself is the most common date rape drug. Does that mean you can’t go out and have a great time? Not at all! It just means that we need to look out for each other, use our awareness and trust our intuition. Even if someone isn’t in your group and they look like they need help, we need to step up and be there for them and get them to a safe place if necessary.

Last but not least we learned how to physically defend ourselves. We always teach this part last because we want the best fight to be the one you never have to fight. We layer the techniques throughout the program because we want fighting to be the last resort. But if it ever comes down to defending yourself, you are worth fighting for you and we want you to know how to kick some serious booty to get away! These students at Lamar certainly proved that they are forces to be reckoned with!IMG_6689

Go forth and party like Rockstars…Safe Rockstars!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

Lamar State College, Orange: Full House for SFB!

Howdy Texas! Lamar State College-Orange was the first college on my college tour of Texas this week. Texas always has a special place in our hearts here at SFB because this is where our boss lady Gina is from!

 

As the students started filing into the Student Center for the presentation we quickly found that we were going to need more chairs to accommodate the crowd. Bring it on! Sure, some of these folks were getting class credit for being here (nothing wrong with that!) but I know that by the end of the seminar these students not only learned a great deal, but were glad they came!

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The volunteers for the verbal & fight demos were phenomenal: animated, fun and relatable to the audience. We showed how to use deflection as a tool to get away from a potential creeper and that it’s ok to lie to a stranger…no need to give up your personal information! We talked about how body language is key to your awareness and that if your intuition cues you into a problem that you should absolutely listen to it.

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These students were a tremendous pleasure to meet and I think they took home the most important fact…They are worth fighting for!

 

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

TCU is Ready for Spring Break!

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Texas Christian University is a beautiful campus in Forth Worth with staff, faculty and employees that care deeply for their students. They invited me out to present the Fight Back on Spring Break! program to empower their campus to party, travel and live safe lives no matter where they are in the world! Before the event the sponsors invited me to dinner at Uncle Julio’s where I had the BEST Mexican food I have ever had…and I live in California! Thank you both so much for treating me to a Fort Worth staple so start the evening!IMG_6651

When the program was set to start, I was met with a crowd of enthusiastic students who were ready to learn tips on setting boundaries, using their intuition and the basics of safe travel and partying. I asked the audience where they were going for Spring Break and I heard answers like Thailand, Germany, Costa Rica and Mexico. That is so amazing that these folks are having the opportunity to travel the world at a young age and experience different cultures!   Learning to defend ourselves and be our own best protectors is even more important when we are out of our element and in a new environment where we may be tempted to be less aware.

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We covered ways to be an active bystander using non-complementary behavior and that looking out for the effects of predatory drugs is a great way to be an ally for your friends…or anyone you notice who may be in trouble. We learned how to use verbal skills to set boundaries and we finished things off by learning how to physically defend ourselves with the Bad Ass Ballet. These students were fearless, vocal and their enthusiasm couldn’t be contained when it came time to practice the steps. It helped that my 2 volunteers, Kevin and Paulie, were fabulous!

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I am so happy I was able to meet such an incredible group of students who were fired up to learn and were excited to discover just how powerful they really are at being their own personal badasses. I hope you all have a fantastic and safe Spring Break!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

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Ohio Wesleyan University’s Greek Life is on Fire!

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The Panhellenic Council joined forces with the Woman’s Resource Center to bring the Students Fight Back message of self-empowerment and badassery to Ohio Wesleyan University. The sororities and fraternities at OWU each have the option of making 1 or 2 of their planned school events to be mandatory for the other. Lucky for the men, this was one of those events!

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With a room full of 200 students reppin’ all gender identities, sexual orientations and life experiences we got started breaking down myths about sexual assault including why victim blaming is wrong and why fighting back is a choice, NOT a reason to blame a survivor. We discussed the fact that EVERYONE has the right to set a boundary about their body and expect that boundary to be respected. Mic drop!img_4924-2

I had so much fun with this group! The energy in the room was palpable… they were snapping & clapping throughout and we were laughing together through most of the event. I even had a group of men in the front who were super engaged and would shout out answers to me! I love it when audiences get involved! I had 2 volunteers this time: Dr. Dwayne Todd who is not only a professor but also the Title IX Coordinator and Phoebe who was one of the sorority members putting on the event. They did an awesome job of helping me demonstrate verbal strategies, vulnerable hot spots and finally the some basic physical self-defense skills.  img_4925-2

Thank you so much for having me OWU! You were incredible and I hope to see you all again soon. Keep on being badasses and don’t let anyone keep you from living the life that you choose!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

Texas Tech-We ARE our own best protectors!

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One of the great things about being a GFB/SFB Speaker is that we get to empower people across the nation! I received a warm welcome at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX and we got down with a Students Fight Back event sponsored by the awesome folks of RISE.

The Risk Intervention & Safety Education (RISE) program is a prevention and wellness initiative established for the students at Texas Tech. They are extremely passionate about the health and well being of their Red Raiders and I felt incredibly honored to be able to speak to this group about personal safety and self-defense.

We had an intimate group that was engaged throughout the entire program. We laughed together when talking about an animal’s intuition vs. us humans. Why is it that us humans act like we’re the most intelligent animal on earth and yet we ignore the very instinctual survival method we’re all born with because we think we know better? Um…no. Let’s start listening to that voice so it can help to protect us! We are our own best protectors and when we realize that we become so powerful!

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After the presentation I watched as several folks practiced their new lines with each other (“No. Back up. I don’t want any problems”) and talk about how they’re going to use that the next time they meet a creeper. That was so awesome to see and that is what this program is all about. Empowerment! Education! Taking control of your life! And having fun while doing it!

Texas Tech, thank you so much for having me and for showing me how excited you all were to learn something new. And RISE, thank you for all you do…and for my awesome T-shirt!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

University of Illinois-Springfield, You are Worth Fighting For!

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Springfield, IL is the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, the capital of the great state of Illinois and home to the University of Illinois-Springfield. It was here at UIS that I was invited to spread the Students Fight Back message of being a badass of your own life!

We had a small but mighty group gathered who were eager to get their knowledge on and we dove right into the basics of trusting your intuition and choosing to be actively aware. My amazing assistant did a great job helping me demonstrate strategies for avoiding a creeper using your verbal skills and then we transitioned into the physical fight segment. Because even when we do a great job of being aware, keeping an eye out for those who would try to manipulate us, and using our voice to avoid a confrontation sometimes we may have to physically defend ourselves. We pointed out all the hotspots that people of any gender identity have such as the eyes, throat, stomach, knees and groin. Each time we discussed a strike or practiced the bad ass ballet steps, my assistant would confirm to me that yes, this was something that would really hurt! I asked if he had been in a lot of fights and he said, no, he played football! Yup, he had first hand knowledge of how all those places were extremely sensitive!

The most important concept that resonated with this highly participatory group was the knowledge that they are worth fighting for. By knowing that, embracing it and not being dissuaded from believing it in all aspects of our lives, we become our own best protectors.

Thank you University of Illinois-Springfield and Student Life for bringing me to your campus to educate, empower and entertain your students! Go forward peacefully!

Cheers,

GFB Nicole

Small but Mighty Crew from LCCC

The small but mighty crew from Lehigh Carbon Community College were so engaged and eager to learn when I visited Thursday night, we had a heck of time throwing down. And quite a diverse group attended Students Fight Back!, hosted by the wonderful Student Life. I always love seeing both men and women, especially when they are not required to be there, coming together to be a part of the solution in the battle against violence. Such a supportive and connected energy flowed with this group of future leaders, taking a stand to look out for each other and deciding that the rape and violence culture is not something to be ignored, but stood up against, united. Deciding to be their own best protectors in any situation. Deciding enough is enough. So proud to be a part of Lehigh Carbon CC for a night. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of your rockstar community . Until next time…
Love and Light,
GFB Bree

 

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Keepin’ it Safe in the Backyard of The Big Apple

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Living in New York City, you think you know most of the major spots nearby. So it was a pleasant surprise to find the very quaint and beautiful Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, right across from my backyard. It’s a lovely campus with a spectacular view of The Big Apple, but even more impressive students!

Stevens Institute of Technology welcomed Students Fight Back! and made the statement that a safer campus is a priority. Being a male-dominated school, I applaud Stevens Institute for taking initiative. It speaks to the very loud voice of our young generation that both males and females want equality, and are on a mission to end violence for all. In this spirit, we talked about being an active bystander and looking out for each other, why assuming someone is a “creeper” based on stereotypes is actually putting yourself in a more harmful situation and of course, we kicked some serious ass. It was a stellar event from start to finish!

Thanks so much Stevens Institute of Technology for letting Students Fight Back! be a part of your community. Looking forward to visiting my neighbors again soon! Until next time….

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Light and Love,

GFB Bree

Sacramento State- Using your Voice is POWERFUL

I had the pleasure of meeting the badass students and UNIQUE members at Sacramento State last week for Students Fight Back.  The event was hosted by UNIQUE, a super passionate group of student volunteers led by advisor Ajamu Lamumba that brings innovative entertainment to campus.  These folks organized the event down to the last detail including “Students Fight Back” credentials for all the volunteers… it was incredibly awesome!

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The students in this audience were super energetic and totally engaged in the program!  We talked about intuition and how being aware of your surroundings is not only simple, but really important from a personal safety and not-being-hit-by-a-door standpoint too. We practiced using our voices to set boundaries, which always seems to be the most uncomfortable thing for folks to get the hang  of.  We all struggle with this, and that is why we spend so much time practicing this super important skill in our seminars!

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When it came time to practice the Badass Ballet, you could feel the power in the room.  These men and women were standing up for themselves against their invisible creeper and the more we practiced with our voice, the more confident they became.  The Badass Ballet is an intro to physical self-defense skills and thanks to Jessica Heskin everyone learned that Sac State actually offers a full contact self-defense class on campus at The Well. How great is that?!

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The biggest take away for this group was the knowledge that it’s ok to make a scene and use your voice if you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or if your boundaries are being crossed. Using your voice is a great way to deter someone and also catches the attention of passers-by who can then step in as an active bystander.  So often in our life we are told not to make trouble, don’t be mean and just go with the flow.  Well, that doesn’t apply when it comes to your personal safety!  Use your voice…it’s the first tool of self-defense you have and it may be all you need to avoid a physical confrontation.  The best fight is the one never fought!

There were great questions asked during Q&A like, what to do if the attacker has a weapon and what if there are multiple attackers.  My favorite question was, “If someone says ‘hi’ to me, do I ignore them or do I say something?  What if I offend them?”  Well, it’s absolutely your choice and depends on the situation and how that ‘hi’ makes you feel.  If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, then you have the right to enforce your boundary and use your voice if you choose. The fear of offending someone should never be more important than the desire to be safe.  It’s ok if someone thinks you’re mean, or rude or a terrible person if the end result is that you are safe and alive. Who cares what creepy people who are trying to cross your boundaries think! I’d rather err on the side of being safe any day!  And remember, you aren’t obligated to engage in conversation with anyone and you can say NO at any time.  If someone disrespects your no or disregards your personal boundaries, you now have the skills to create a double boundary and know you’re worth fighting for if that person doesn’t back off.

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Thank you Sacramento State and UNIQUE for letting me rock out with all of you and share some knowledge that we are really passionate about.  I hope you are all feeling like the empowered badasses that you are!  Go forward peacefully!

Cheers,
GFB Nicole

 

University of Massachusetts – Lowell – A BIG Win!

Just 2 weeks into the SFB fall tour, I stopped by to see our new besties at University of Massachusetts  – Lowell. The team of badasses in Student Activities is killing it over there and had some 400 seats lined up, zip tied, a boss stage and serious sound system. They brought in the big guns.

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After sound check, start time slowly creeped. And let’s just say they didn’t quite fill the seats they had hoped to. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, self-defense is a tough sale.

But here is the incredibly awesome news: 1.) There were a solid number of dudes in the crowd. Like over half. 2.) we had FUN! Those who came were super into it. 3.) I had a very real, open conversation with a brilliant group of women who were uber pumped about the program and could hardly wait to share stories: One who, just in the last week, made moves to be an active bystander, looking out for a couple freshman girls who were being creeped on by a guy following them slowly in a car (she threatened to call the cops and he drove away). Another girl shared her “I never thought it could happen to me” story about getting mugged just a few weeks ago and how much she wished she had this course before that had happened. We talked for a quite a while after the program, laughing, chatting and sharing our fears… being vulnerable about a scary topic that can seem a lot less scary when you are in a safe place to talk about it and can learn very basic skills to deal with it.

So yeah, they didn’t get the masses they were looking for, but we did connect with some real leaders in the community who want to take more steps towards a safer program by bringing us back for more intense classes. These are also the people who will continue chatting about the program for a while, sparking important conversations with the peeps who couldn’t make it to the seminar.

And I most definitely chalk that up as a BIG win.

Thank you SO much University of Massachusetts – Lowell for letting me hang and putting on such an amazing program. You all are the bomb and I can’t wait to see you again soon! Till next time..

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Mandatory Fun at Andrew College

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At Students Fight Back, some of the programs are mandatory attendance for certain organizations or classes. You can always tell at the beginning of a program.. Because let’s be honest, who is just jonesing to give up their free night to learn about self-defense? Not you average college student. However, since we aren’t your typical self protection seminar, about 15 minutes into the program, most of the students are on board and ready to kick some booty.

At Andrew College way down south, I spoke to the entire student body. Yep. All of them. And it was mandatory. Uh-oh.

The program started with our handouts being made into paper airplanes. Awesome. But if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right?
I told them we needed to work on their airplane-making skills… ‘cus some of these were just sad. Yeah I called them out on their game and had a little fun. That’s right friends… we can learn about self defense AND have fun. Oh yes we did.

The further we got into the program, the more cats got on board. People were hollering and killing the badass ballet moves, while also hitting the pause button to realize we have a serious problem on our hands as a society and we must take the steps to be ready if we ever find ourselves in a sketchy situation. It was definiely a success, especially starting off with a room full of about 300 students who were less than pumped about self-defense.
At the end of the program I had two sassy ladies approach me and give it to me straight: “You know, I didn’t want to be here at all tonight. But, I actually ended up having a lot of fun. Thanks for coming.” Awwwww Yeah! Thank YOU! This, my friends, is the best feedback I can receive. Moments like these make me puff my chest proud to be a part of such a unique organization that can connect with students on their level. Because at the end of the day, its ALL about the students, our future leaders.

Thank you Andrew College for rocking out with me for the night.. it was my pleasure and I hope we can do it again soon. Till next time..

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Pacific Hills High School – Raise the Roof!

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Girls Fight Back visited Pacific Hills High School yesterday and they raised the roof with their badass-ness! I love speaking to high school girls because they have such energy and passion about everything…especially in learning how to live fearlessly and recognize creepers! Mr. & Mrs. Wagner, the administrators who invited us, couldn’t have been more welcoming, supportive and thrilled to empower their girls…especially the Seniors heading off to college.

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(the picture above links to a video of Nik and her creepy weirdo in action)

Together we laughed, we realized that our fav pair of heels can be an awesome improvised weapon and we learned that if someone grabs your leg in a fight…just kick ‘em with your other leg! These girls were super engaged and asked awesome questions which I love! And let’s not forget our awesome male volunteer who was a dynamite “creeper” for us and a perfect example of how men and women working together can create change.

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Thank you so much Pacific Hills for letting me part of your community for the afternoon! You all seriously rock!

Cheers!
GFB Nicole

Behind the Scenes with LIM College 

 

Lim College April 2015LIM College specializes in programs for peeps on the business side of the fashion industry. Students Fight Back visited LIM last month and let me just say: these cats are fiercer than the catwalkers you see on Project Runway, friends. And might I suggest, probably way more fun.

LIM College is taking action to make their sassy campus the safest and most empowering place it can be. The Counseling & Wellness Center who sponsored SFB were so passionate about getting the word of empowering young men and women to protect themselves (and each other by being an active bystander) they had a raffle for a free iPad. Um yeah. I thought it might be a tad classless to ask if I could enter, but don’t think it didn’t cross my mind.

For reals this crew was fabulous. And my male volunteer, which can honestly be a awkward job that they don’t know they’re volunteering for, was simply amazing and so supportive of the conversation taking place.

Thanks so much LIM College for allowing me to be a part of your behind-the-scenes posse for the afternoon. You were amazeballs and I can’t wait to see you all the next time ’round.

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Holler for Harcum!

Harcum 9.19.14 croppedStudents Fight Back rolled on over to Harcum College this week and I had the privilege of getting down with these kids. About fifty percent of the crowd were student athletes. And they were ballas (see what I did there?).

And a majority of these ballas were men supporting their fellow strong ladies, and learning as well. I was excited to see the male crowd involved and asking excellent questions. One of the questions posed was “what do you do if someone attacks you from the back and just punches you in the back of the head and knocks you out?” Ah. Excellent question. I agreed that “Stop. Leave Me Alone. I don’t want any problems” is not so helpful once returning to consciousness after being sucker punched from the back. As badass of a team that we have at Students Fight Back, even with the extensive training we have all been through, we are not trained to cheat death. However, if you are trusting your intuition and actively choosing awareness in this wonderful life of yours, it’s very unlikely you’ll find yourself in a situation where someone has sucker punched you from behind.

Life is happening whether you are ready or not. We just want to give you the tools to live your life to the fullest. Being brave. Fearless. Courageous. And not just to have that badass mindset, but to physically empower you by teaching the basics of the best self-protection skill set, like trusting your intuition, setting strong boundaries and, of course,  a good ole’ palm strike.

Thank you so much Harcum College for welcoming into your incredible community. You are rockstars. This is my shout out (or holler!) to you.  Until next time..

Love and light,

GFB Bree

Wright State’s Got It Right!

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I had the privilege of speaking at Wright State University last week… And let me tell, you they are doing things RIGHT.

Aside from the fact I walked into  another seminar of 2 men speaking on self-defense and personal safety (so thorough, they are!) I was approached by a male staff member that also worked in counseling for domestic violence. He introduced himself and wanted to know what GFB is all about. After listening to my short speech, not only did he not tell me that I should do this or that (sometimes people who have “certified credentials” in self defense like to do that), he commended the work and stated “That’s great what those guys are doing out there (referring to the men’s seminar outside) But we need badass women showing other women how to protect themselves.”

WOW. I was so flattered and proud to be representing the mightiness that is GFB. Talk about RESPECT!

Not much to my surprise after this warm greeting, the rest of the night was full of enthusiasm, engagement and hella-good times. The crew at Wright State was just kick ass.. and taking such fantastic steps to make their beautiful campus a safe and supportive one. They are doing it RIGHT I tell you. Thank you SO much for letting me be a part of your inspiring spirit Wright State.. see you on the flip side!

Love and Light,

GFB Bree

A Girl’s First Life of Defense . . . Her Intuition

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What if I told you that there is a completely free tool available to you that could keep you safe from danger, help you pick the right answer on a multiple choice exam, or guide you towards making the right decision when buying a car or picking a school? You’d be all over that, right? What if I told you that you already own it?…

My sophomore year of college, I attended a party at a fraternity house dressed to impress. I had just gotten out of a relationship and I was ready to flirt and mingle. When I walked through the door of the house and noticed a few appreciative glances, my confidence soared and I was ready for a fun night. Just then I happened to make eye contact with this one guy and all the warning bells and whistles in my body went off. I didn’t know what it was, but I felt totally creeped out. There was something going on and I couldn’t put my finger on it. I ignored the feeling, but also avoided any contact with this guy as best I could.

As the DSS (Designated Sober Sister), I found myself hitting the practically abandoned soda table at one point during the evening. When I turned over my shoulder to exit the room, there he was….Creepy McCreeperson. I felt myself completely freeze up as he approached me. It felt like there was a lock in the center of my stomach just under my ribs and someone had forced in the key and bolted it. As he spoke to me, he started running his hand across my collarbone and my mind raced as I looked for a socially acceptable way to get away from him. At that moment, one of my sorority sisters came through the door looking for me. Now, she was never one to care much about being “socially acceptable” and with the added bonus of having had a couple of drinks, she had no problem telling him to get his hands off me and pulling me safely out of the room.

Later that night, I thought “What was that? Why had that guy given me such an intense feeling? And what had that feeling meant?”
We’ve probably all had a similar experience. Something isn’t right in our environment. We know something isn’t right, but we aren’t sure what or why or how. That’s our intuition and if we learn to listen to it without judgment and respond accordingly, that is the tool that can protect us in a variety of circumstances.

Violence prevention expert, Gavin de Becker defines intuition as ‘knowing something without knowing why’. Now that’s a pretty cool concept! You can know something, but not necessarily be consciously aware of why you know it. And the coolness of that is magnified when you consider this little known fact about intuition: it’s always going to take you to a safer place. It’s never going to put you in more danger to trust and act on your intuition. The trick is that we have to accept these feelings on face value and resist the urge to overanalyze. Because while we’re stroking the old proverbial beard asking ourselves “Is my intuition reliable?,” we could find that our opportunity to act has passed us by and we are now in a pickle.

Recently, I had the experience of locking eyes with a guy and this time all the right bells and whistles went off. I knew I’d found someone special. I didn’t know yet why or how, but I knew he was going to be important to me. And because I had taken the time to explore my intuition and how it communicates with me, I knew I could trust that feeling, turn off my very human desire to over think things, and enjoy the wonderful feeling of getting to know someone who excites me. Thanks, intuition!

GFB – Heather

Girls Fight Back Responds to the UCSB Murders

Candles

As the President of Girls Fight Back, my heart is full of sadness for the community of UCSB, where a young man killed six students on May 23rd before taking his own life. This disturbed murderer made clear in his videos and writings that his intention was to destroy that which he felt he could not have; and that “thing” he felt deprived of was attention, sex, and affection from women. After killing his roommates, he specifically targeted the Alpha Phi sorority house where he was, thankfully, unable to gain access. Though he did not get inside the house, six young people nevertheless lost their lives that day, all students of UCSB. In his video, he said of women, “If I can’t have you, I will destroy you.” It is haunting, it is tragic, and it has to change.

Every time one of these tragedies takes center stage in the national news, which is all too often, we renew the national dialog about prevention, gun control, and mental health; and, the news cycle goes on overdrive to instill fear that you could be the next victim of a crazed killer. Fear alone is not an option. To live in that fear is to succumb to the logic of a killer who feels that women should have sex with him because that is his entitlement as a man. We all know that we can’t walk through the world afraid to choose the relationships we want to be in, the people whom we share intimacy with, or even our prom date. Life would be much safer if we never left our house, but that isn’t living.

I spent some time over the past few days reading #yesallwomen. When I see page after page of tweets calling out the daily impact that fear can have on our lives, I am once again reminded of the importance of making our voices heard and learning to be our own best protectors. It is encouraging to see how many husbands, brothers, boyfriends, and dads are also tweeting to #yesallwomen that they get it, and it is a reminder of how far we have to go to see those who they clearly do not get what the big deal is. What we need is social change on a global level, and the world is full of good people, both women and men, who are ready to stand up against violence. And, until that happens, I want all women to have the confidence and security to live their best lives.

At Girls Fight Back, we believe that every individual is his or her own 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 while helping other people around them do the same.

In memory of Cheng Yuan Hong, 20, George Chen, 19, Weihan Wang, 20, Veronika Weiss, 19, Katie Cooper, 22, Christopher Michael-Martinez, 20, Maren Sanchez, 16, who was fatally stabbed after declining a prom invitation last month, and the estimated 7,500 others who will lose their lives to violence this year, we continue to speak out. Though the statistics are shocking, we are here to say that we will not conform to the violence. We will remain focused on our efforts to create social change, to protect ourselves, and to take care of one another.

-GFB Gina