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

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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Safe Break at Oklahoma University!

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Every year the University of Oklahoma hosts a program called Safe Break to remind students, especially incoming freshman, to have a fun but safe spring break. This year, Fight Back on Spring Break! was invited to give a mini-version of our program, along with a two other speakers.

Safe Break was started by two sorority sisters who were best friends with an OU student named Lisa Wieder who never made it back after her Junior spring break. Lisa was on a beach in Texas and decided to jump in the back of truck with a friend. Seemingly a harmless choice on beach. But when the driver pulled a quick u-turn, Lisa and her friend were thrown out of the back of the truck. Both were knocked unconscious. Tragically, Lisa never woke up. Lisa’s parents fly back to OU every spring break to share Lisa’s story in hopes of inspiring students to make smarter and safer choices, especially on spring break.

As a speaker, I love sharing Shannon McNamara’s story, the inspiration for GFB. So it was a change of pace and quite eye-opening to be touched and inspired by another young woman whose life was taken too soon. I was incredibly moved to hear Lisa’s parents talk about their daughter and how our decisions are not only affecting you, but affecting those you love. A lot of the tips Lisa’s parents shared complemented GFB’s message: trusting your intuition, choosing awareness and looking out for each other. They also drove home how important it is to carry identification on your person, as it was a while before they could identify Lisa because she didn’t have any ID on her body. And they mentioned tips that can often be overlooked, like being sure there are no distractions while you’re driving, especially talking on the phone and texting. It takes your brain 27 seconds to get completely refocused on driving after being distracted by something like a phone call or changing the radio station; meanwhile, it only takes a second for something to cause an accident.  These were just a few of the points the Wieders shared in their very important and heartfelt program.

It was a privilege to be a part of OU Safe Break and I was honored to be able to share Shannon’s story alongside Lisa’s story in hopes of inspiring students to live a fun and empowered life while also being safe and smart. Thank you to the Wieders for being so brave and strong to continue sharing Lisa’s story and making a difference in the lives of others. A special shout out to Mckenzie and the Panhellenic team for making such incredible strides to put the safety of their community first. I can’t wait to visit you all again soon and hope you all had a wonderful and safe spring break! Till next time..

 

Love and Light,

Bree

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We are on tour and on our way to you!

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If you want to bring Girls Fight Back, Students Fight Back, or Fight Back on Spring Break to your campus, call us at 866.769.9037 or email us at gfb@girlsfightback.com and also check out these dates when we are touring to see if we are headed to a campus near you:

8/15/15 – Morehead, KY

8/26/15 – New York, NY

8/29/15 – Commerce, TX

9/8/15 – McCook, NE

9/9/15 – North Platte, NE

9/9/15 – Coeur d’Alene, ID

9/16/15 – Richmond, VA

9/17/15 – Potsdam, NY

9/27/15 – Platteville, WI

9/28/15 – Milwaukee, WI

9/30/15 – Eau Claire, WI

Topics we cover in Girls Fight Back & Students Fight Back that are shown to be EFFECTIVE sexual assault prevention for college students:

  • Self-Defense including how to yell and break holds
  • Definitions of Consent
  • Debunking the myth of stranger danger and defining acquaintance rape
  • Bystander intervention
  • Clarifying the right to personal boundaries
  • . . . with an approach that is dynamic, includes role-playing, discussion, and problem-solving

It’s a complicated issue and there is no one perfect approach, but a multi-faceted approach to sexual violence including these techniques has shown time and time again to save lives and decrease violence.

This great article from the New York Times states:

Sexual violence is a serious hazard on college campuses. . . .  In a randomized trial, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, first-year students at three Canadian campuses attended sessions on assessing risk, learning self-defense and defining personal sexual boundaries. The students were surveyed a year after they completed the intervention. The risk of rape for 451 women randomly assigned to the program was about 5 percent, compared with nearly 10 percent among 442 women in a control group who were given brochures and a brief information session. . . .  “It’s an important, rigorous study that shows that resistance and self-defense training needs to be part of college sexual assault prevention,” said Sarah E. Ullman, a professor of criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who was not involved in the research.

We are dying to teach you how to kick some booty, and have fun in the process.  Give us a shout today!

ECU Ballers!!!

East Carolina University are a bunch of ballers. Shot-callers. Literally. Check out this pic…
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She is totally calling me out mid-badass ballet!! And I loved it.

ECU had a strong athletic turn out at our Fight Back on Spring Break event. Leaders on campus naturally lead the way when it comes to creating a safe atmosphere on campus.. and on spring break. And we had a blast talking about safely intervening in sketchy situations for the sake of others, especially when our guards are down on spring break. And they brought it home strong with some excellent palm strikes, not to mention solid knees to the groin.

But I have to give a shout out to Lydia and her team for hosting the stellar event and for the biggest post-gig compliment I can get: Lydia and her powerful comrades signed up for a self-defense class. Oh. Yes. They. Did. BOOM!

ECU, I hope you felt empowered as your ventured out into the world on spring break and brought that fearless badassery right back to campus with you. Thanks so much for letting me hang with your crew. And can’t wait until next time!

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Catholic University of America is BLESSED!

Catholic University 3.1.15 image 3With a bold name like Catholic University of America, how can you not be blessed with awesomeness? And that’s exactly what CUA is … awesomeness. We threw down “Fight Back on Spring Break” style during a serious ice storm just outside of campus. Peeps were ice skating and busting their asses (literally) to the event it was so wild out . But this didn’t stop these warriors. What better way to enjoy an ice storm than with some good grub, a beer and some eye strikes?

Seriously, this was such an incredible event hosted by the wonderful CUA Residence Life. I legit stopped mid-speaking to point out the powerful energy we had created together in the room, all in the spirit of leading fearless lives and being our own best protectors. And better yet, it was a room of about a 50/50 ratio of women and men, and they were ALL so passionate about being the change they want to see in the world.

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The entire night was a total blast, but one of my favorite high lights was during the Q&A session when these rockstars were asking very vulnerable, open and thoughtful questions. To get educated questions at the end of a 75 minute presentation is like.. whoa. Hell yeah. Not only did they listen and laugh at my corny jokes, but they were engaged enough to ask kickass questions? Boo-yeah to you CUA.

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It’s hopeful and inspiring to know these are our future leaders. It was truly a honor and pleasure, CUA. Thank you SO much for inviting me to be a part of your posse. Until next time…

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Mount Saint Mary’s University – Fight Back on Spring Break!

MT St Mary'sMount Saint Mary’s University is on Spring Break this week. If you happen to bump into them while traveling the globe, beware. These students are FIERCE. Especially after we threw down last week for the first “Fight Back on Spring Break” of the season. We got down and dirty with the usual Terminator Tango, chatted about out psychic intution skills and how to be on the look out for our homies, keeping everyone safe. But we also threw around some solid safety spring break tips. And Mount Saint Mary’s kept it real: we talked about the basic safety tips, but focused on how to be safe when alcohol is around or being consumed. Cue: spring break time. I think it’s a good time of year to keep in mind that we need to be on the look out for predatory drugs being slipped in our drinks (regardless if you’re drinking apple juice or gin and juice), and remember alcohol itself is the number one date-rape drug. 89% of survivors reported drinking before their assaults. Yikes. Now please don’t let this stop you from cracking open a brewski, just make sure you’re drinking for you, at your own pace, on your own terms. This is the best way to keep it fun and safe, and from spending an entire day of your spring break hungover. Can I get a “no bueno”? Spring Break is about celebrating, Live it up friends! Enjoy your week off, and come back safely, ready to kill the rest of your school year!

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Thank you so much Mount Saint Mary’s for your time and spirit. You were fab. Now go enjoy that sunshine for me! (PS it’s snowing and below freezing tips in my hood. I’m only slightly jealous).

Love and Light,
GFB Bree

Fight Back on Spring Break!

Recently our own Bree Swartz joined HLN’s Lynn Berry on Weekend Express to discuss how to make a game plan for a safe spring break.
You can make a game plan too! Watch the interview for helpful tips on how to be a spring break badass, and check out the Girls Fight Back spin-off program website, SafeSpringBreak.org. Now is the best time to book Fight Back on Spring Break for 2015!

Bree Swartz