A True Story of Fighting Back – Rachael Speaks

Our friend Rachael fought back this weekend and is sharing her story to instill some serious badassery in all of us. Rachael’s experience is one that no one should ever have to go through, but when she did suddenly find herself in a potentially life-threatening situation, she acted on her instincts and fought back with everything she had because Rachael knows that she is worth fighting for.

We are so happy to hear that your warrior spirit kept you safe, Rachael! Thank you for sharing your story (full story below).

“Last night at around 10pm I was assaulted in Logan Square, on a cute little side street off Milwaukee. I am telling Facebook about it because I think there are things to be learned from my experience, and I don’t know how else to tell a large number of people I care about. I don’t think this says anything bad about my neighborhood, I think this could have happened anywhere.

I was walking alone to a friend’s house, with headphones on. Someone grabbed me from behind, showed me his gun, and started walking me to his car, saying if I knew what was good for me that I would get in. Once I processed that I wasn’t just being mugged, I started to fight back. I screamed HELP I’M BEING ASSAULTED as loud as I possibly could. He started hitting me on the head with his gun and I fell to the ground. People started to yell back and ask if I was OK- the guy yelled “This is my girlfriend”- and I screamed “No I am not” (as if being his girlfriend would change this scenario?) The whole time I was thinking about what my friend Morgan had taught me just a few weeks earlier through a program she works for called Girls Fight Back—that these are crimes of opportunity and they aren’t expecting a fight. I screamed and struggled as he stood over me and continued to hit me and tried to silence me until I got a solid shot and kicked him in the balls with my 2″ stacked heel boots– which gave me a chance to get up and run across the street as he fell back. By that time enough neighbors had come out of their homes that he sped away with my purse.

Ladies- be alert and be fierce, you are stronger than you think you are. The police were adamant that you should never let someone relocate you, that it’s worth the fight.
Everyone else- if you hear something or see something that’s not right, don’t shy away. I am so grateful for those neighbors who came out of their homes and let me in.

Special shout out to Alanis Morissette—I truly believe that listening to “You Oughta Know” moments before this happened unleashed a special kind of femme rage in me that helped me fight back (despite the fact that headphones on probably made me a target—duly noted).” – Rachael

-GFB Morgan

Redbirds Fight Back!

gfb illinois state

I had such a blast at Illinois State University teaching these powerful students how to become their own best protectors. A lot of the students were concerned about walking alone on campus at night, which is something all college students can relate to, and although these Redbird’s rocked the badass ballet, they also know that the easiest way to up their general safety starts with actively choosing awareness! I can assure you that no one should ever mess with these students, because they can seriously kick some ass! I want to give a special shout out to Lorena, Mark, Gail and UPB.

Thank you and stay warm ISU!

-GFB Morgan

Heart Overflowing – The GFB Academy of 2015!

 

GFB GinaWhen I agreed to pick up the baton from the amazing Erin Weed and take over Girls Fight Back, I had no idea just how much space this company, this mission, and these women would take up in my heart.

Heart. Overflowing.

GFB has become my passion project and I am so proud to be a part of continuing Shannon’s legacy. Our new speaking team made up of Bree, Morgan, and Nicole along with our amazingly talented team member, Beth, met with me this month in Los Angeles for a few days of speaking practice, fight training, and general sisterhood bonding. We were joined by our founder, Erin Weed, and some great supporters of our program including Bob Martin, Lisa Gaeta, Jennifer Bunting, and our ever so creepy fight partner, Don.

New for 2015!! . . . I spent the latter part of 2014 writing furiously and consulting with a pool of experts to update the script for both the Girls Fight Back and Students Fight Back programs. We wanted to be sure we were keeping up with the changing world in relation to violence prevention with a little makeover, but Academy was the first time I had a chance to see the words on a page light up on the stage. And, it was awesome!  Our new and improved program includes:

  • Using your intuition
  • Safety tips – awareness, eye contact, verbal boundaries
  • 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 basics of self-defense in our Badass Ballet
  • Plus a review of improvised weapons, ground fighting, and how to sign up for a full-contact adrenaline based self-defense course near you!

Bree, Morgan, and Nicole are ready to come to campuses and share with you our collective passion for living our best lives and empowering campus communities to fight back against violence. And now, a few words from the ladies . . . .With love and gratitude,  GFB Gina

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The 2015 GFB Academy was my 3rd time and counting, and it stood in a category of its own. There was something extra special about this academy, something of a new-birth with more certainty and diction, yet being able to look back at where we had been with so much pride and love. Fusing the constants of GFB that will always remain true, fearlessness, spirit, resilience, power, support to name a few, with a fresh breath of inspiration and steps forward to lead this generation. To describe last weekend in one word, although perhaps cliché, it would most definitely be gratitude. For all the powerful women and men who make GFB possible. For our Founder for having the courage to dream big. For our President for being daring enough to take a risk and leap of faith. For the mentors for believing in us and sharing their wealth of knowledge. For our speakers for working their asses off and inspiring me in new ways, and having the lioness-heart to be open to change while impressing their gifts and ideas on GFB. And most importantly, to all supporters of GFB, including you reading this post. You are why GFB is possible, because you are brave enough to believe in a world without violence and take the steps possible to make it happen, while leading a powerful, badass life of love and light along the way. So thank you so much . . . and here’s to a new frontier of GFB. See you on the road:) – GFB Bree

morgansmall

Self-defense is so much more than the fight; it’s about knowing that exactly who you are in this very moment will always be enough. Regardless of who we are, where we’ve been, the knowledge we have acquired, we have all experienced moments when we felt defeated, but the Girls Fight Back Academy continues to remind me that all of us have greatly underestimated our strength. The Academy provides a space where we can be pushed through our limits, which is emotionally and physically challenging, but so incredibly satisfying. I am beyond grateful for everyone who made this year’s GFB Academy so amazing — this work can only be done when we support one another and truly believe that each one of us is worth fighting for.  – Lots of love, GFB Morgan

niksmall

Being a part of the GFB academy was such an amazing experience!  It was my very first academy and the existing group welcomed me with open arms. To be surrounded by such strong, beautiful, intelligent and confident women who are all champions of educating people to change the world is very humbling. I am honored and thrilled at the opportunity to work beside these women, learn with these women, fight back with these women and call these women friends.  Our process is intensive – we put in long hours and it is worth every second of it when we know we are prepared to go out into the world and start empowering other women to live the life they’ve always wanted.  That is why I’m here.  This isn’t about me…this is about the goal of ending violence in the world FOREVER.  – GFB Nicole

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Quickly nearing my two year milestone as a contributing advocate of Girls Fight Back, it seems the need for this kind of program in our modern world has remained ever relevant. It has continued to evolve with the help of the most caring, proactive, and strong women it has been my honor to work with. I look back on Academy 2015 with pride and never ending gratitude in my heart. How does one sum up such an eventful weekend? Intense, emotional, tiring, nerve-wracking, productive, rewarding, empowering, and funny, all at once. It is experiences like this that drive home the importance of our mission at GFB, including the choice to live with purpose, believing in our own worth, and being part of a solid support team. We’re all on this journey together! – GFB Beth

Girls Fight Back Academy at Dinner 2015

Every founder dreams of the company they start growing beyond them. I certainly did. And to be in Los Angeles with the growing GFB team, it warms my heart to see this legacy of beautiful badassery continuing in my absence. I was deeply moved during my time with each of them. Their passion for the message, their dedication to getting all the material right, their consciousness around the personal feelings of me and the McNamara family – well, it all felt like a warm blanket of awesomeness around me the entire time I was there.

I was given the opportunity to share the history of Girls Fight Back, from the very early days up until the day I sold the company to Kirkland Productions – and beyond. Because I am lucky, in that Gina Kirkland continues to include me and the McNamaras in her decision making for the future of GFB. She doesn’t have to do this, but she chooses to – and it’s both humbling and inspiring to see her model of leadership as GFB continues to change the world…one empowered woman at a time.

I want to applaud the entire team for all their hard work. I love you all!  – GFB Erin

 

To book a Girls Fight Back, Students Fight Back, or Fight Back on Spring Break for your campus . . . .

866.769.9037

gfb@girlsfightback.com

Illinois BYOB Tour – Glenwood, Springfield and Township High Schools!

I just finished my around the world Illinois BYOB tour and I really feel like it was on par with Yonce’s.

In other words, Mayday 2014 was badass and these High School chicks definitely know a thing or two about protecting themselves.

At each GFB event I asked the students what they would want to do if they were standing in front of their home with the key in the door and suddenly spotted Creeper McCreeperson behind them. Usually, most of us want to get inside as quickly as we can, but of the hundreds of students I spoke with NOT ONE suggested that as an option!! These girls, from Chatham to Arlington Heights, already knew that we were going to have to confront Creeper McCreeperson in order to set some serious boundaries for ourselves, and once I gave them a couple easy tools… let me just say, you definitely don’t want to mess with any of these chicks!

Chatham, Illinois
Glenwood High School Students
Starting my triple-threat Illini BYOB tour at Glenwood High School was incredible. The bleachers were packed bright and early with hundreds of badass chicks who were ready to throw down. I had a blast with everyone and would like to thank Principal Jim Lee, Diana Odin and Luke (the goofiest sbg!) for helping put together this fantastic event!

 

Springfield, Illinois
Springfield High School students
The Springfield High School Student Council voted to bring GFB to their campus to teach the 9th and 12th grade female students, which proves that when men and women work together to raise awareness about violence against women, we can really make an amazing impact in our communities. I would like to thank the SHS Student Council, Ms. Guerrero, and Cody (our not-so-scary-scary-bad-guy) for this wonderful GFB event!

Arlington Heights, Illinois
Township High School students
Aaron went above and beyond – he put together an awesome event for Township High School District 214 and not only is he a veteran SBG, but he also teaches self-defense! This was a special event because we had Moms next to their daughters, all conquering the Badass Ballet together. Reminder: Aaron is teaching a self-defense class on May 18th, which will be a wonderful compliment to the GFB program

Wishing everyone the best!

-GFB Morgan

Glenwood High School Fights Back!

Check out this article and this video in The State Journal-Register about the kickass group of students at Glenwood High School that participated in Morgan’s one day three school adventure!Capture

 

One Day – Three Schools – GFB Morgan!

GFB Morgan is so excited to be given the opportunity to work with high school students in Illinois next month!  It is so impactful to get the Girls Fight Back message across BEFORE college, as we have witnessed with the many 6-12th graders we have had the pleasure of working with this year!  Morgan will be teaching the terminator tango at three Illinois high schools in one day (Glenwood, Springfield and Township) – go Morgan!  The Chicago Tribune has written this article in praise of the program.  We have had a long history of teaching district 214 to fight like girls, this is our fourth time back in just two years!  Can’t wait!

GFB Morgan, Speaker in Training, Speaks to the Ladies of the Laraway School

The 6th-8th grade ladies at the Laraway School in Joliet, IL are so dangerous! It was an honor to do my first Girls Fight Back! presentation for these fierce students who rocked the Terminator Tango (thanks GFB Leah!). I would like to thank Kristen Rojas for organizing this wonderful GFB event for the female students and their parents – we had a fantastic turnout! Also, a special thanks to our “Scary Bad Guy”, Brian Johnson, who was relieved when I assured him that a full suit of amour was not going to be necessary at any point during our presentation. This talk was a special opportunity for our organization to connect with a younger audience, which only emphasized how universal the GFB message is for all of us, regardless of age, because we are all worth fighting for!  -GFB Morgan

GFB Morgan, Speaker in Training, Speaks to the Ladies of the Laraway School

The 6th-8th grade ladies at the Laraway School in Joliet, IL are so dangerous! It was an honor to do my first Girls Fight Back! presentation for these fierce students who rocked the Terminator Tango (thanks GFB Leah!). I would like to thank Kristen Rojas for organizing this wonderful GFB event for the female students and their parents – we had a fantastic turnout! Also, a special thanks to our “Scary Bad Guy”, Brian Johnson, who was relieved when I assured him that a full suit of amour was not going to be necessary at any point during our presentation. This talk was a special opportunity for our organization to connect with a younger audience, which only emphasized how universal the GFB message is for all of us, regardless of age, because we are all worth fighting for!  – GFB Morgan

team-morganWay to go, Morgan!!!  We are so proud of you! – GFB Team