Safe Break at Oklahoma University!

safe break

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

OU crowd

University of Richmond – “Do you feel powerful?”

Delta Gammas

“YEEEEESSSSSS!” came the thunderous reply as the Weinstein Center at the University of Richmond echoed with the roar of women’s voices. The intensity of that reply gave me goose bumps and made it quite obvious that these courageous sorority sisters were feeling powerful indeed after watching the program!

The Panhellenic Council sponsored this Girls Fight Back event and the students were visibly pumped from the beginning as they started filling in and taking their seats.  The energy in the room was electrifying and I knew we were going to have an awesome time together!

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Once we got started we were on a roll to empowerment! Everyone cheered when I showed them the sparkly red high heel and explained we’d be learning how to use it as a weapon later in the program. But seriously, who wouldn’t want to know how to do a solid instep stomp to protect themselves from a creeper?  Stomp away!

Then we learned a little phrase to use when we need to take back control of a conversation when the person is trying to manipulate us with charm.  That tidbit of info was met with some surprised faces and uneasy murmurings…as if the thought of asserting oneself verbally was the most uncomfortable thing in the world.  Well, it totally can be for some folks and that’s ok! That’s why practice makes perfect and it all starts with knowing that it’s ok to set your own boundaries and know you have the right to have those boundaries be respected.

Delta Gamma handds

When it came time to practice our verbal skills I had the help of 2 university police officers who switched off being my demo volunteers.  That was the first time I’ve ever had 2 volunteers and it was so much fun being able to show the audience different scenarios with 2 different “creepers”. Then I got to kick their pretend creeper butts when it came time for the Bad Ass Ballet!  What great sports they were and the ladies loved it!  We were palm striking and groin kneeing like champs and these sorority warriors were not hesitant about practicing their moves.  It was awesome to see so much enthusiasm!  So it wasn’t a surprise when at the end they just about blew me away with their resounding “YES!” to my question.

Thank you all so much for your warm welcome, energy, hospitality and eagerness to learn how to be your own best protector.  I am so happy that I had the chance to meet you all and please remember to go forward peacefully!

 

Roanoke College Knew We Were Coming and They Baked a Cake!

Roanoke College Cake1

 
What can I possibly say about Roanoke College? After a back injury earlier in the week left me wincing in pain with every step, this program had every reason to go down in history as one my most difficult ever. But an amazing staff, dedicated students, and a Super Scary Bad Guy (SSBG) made it one of my favorites of all time. First of all, the campus is beautiful with views of the mountains everywhere. My coordinator, Stephanie, had every thing set and ready to go, so all I had to do was plug in my computer. Then I was whisked away to a lovely pre-show dinner with representatives from their Panhellenic council, the student health services, the counseling center, and HEAT, their peer education group. The program itself was fabulous! My SSBG, Cody, was hilarious. The audience was completely engaged. I barely even noticed my back pain. And to top it all off, they had a cake! A cake, y’all! Definitely one of my favorite campuses of all time. Thanks for everything, RC!

Roanoke Crop

-GFB Heather

Girls Fight Back.. Welcome to MIAMI . . . University! – October 15, 2013

And boy did they welcome us . . . with open arms and the best kind of sisterhood power! The Panhellenic team threw down with us last night as part of their Women Empowerment week (yes, an entire week dedicated to all the glow and glory that is women . . . how freaking cool, huh?). The ladies of Miami of Ohio are the epitome of everything that is good about the Midwest: down to earth spirit, vivacious energy, . . . and some serious ass-kicking sass. The RedHawks were in the moment and killed the Badass ballet engaging and challenging each other and myself with questions, cheers and roars. Yes, there was roaring. A special thanks to Ellie and her team for making me feel so at home and hosting a hella sick event. Much love to the newest sistas of Girls Fight Back! — GFB Bree

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University of Arizona FIGHTS BACK!

The Wildcats of University of Arizona hosted my first Students Fight Back program on the #BYOB12 Tour. My hats off to the Panhellenic team for hosting GFB, but mostly for embracing our idea of FIGHTING BACK!

During my visit, I learned within the last year there had been attacks at UofA, including a student being sexually assaulted in the back of taxi by the driver. Scary, huh? This story stuck out in my mind because, let’s be honest, I can remember a time or two when my friends and I poured ourselves into a cab after one too many cocktails. So naturally, this story scared the crap out of me.

But after talking with the PanHellenic rep, I learned that although students may have had that initial shock, they weren’t going to let these assaults keep them living in fear. They weren’t going to stop going out or stop taking cabs. Instead, these fierce Wildcats wanted to know what they could do to protect themselves. How could they fight back?

And thus, they made the ever-so-wise choice to bring GFB in house to gain some seriously empowering ass-whoopin’ skills.

We didn’t tip-toe around the real world of college life either. We broke it down. Real talk. Yes, most assaults on campus occur when alcohol is involved and yes, alcohol affects your decisions. But it doesn’t mean you can’t go out without being attacked. It just means you need to go out smart: Trust your intuition. Don’t leave your drink or take one without seeing it poured, whether it is apple juice or gin & juice. And ALWAYS go out with friends, go home with friends… People that got your back.

But we not only talked the talk, we walked the walk with some lethal groin kicks and palm strikes. Oh yes, we went balls-to-the wall, so to speak.

These Wildcats took the first steps in leading a safer life. They didn’t shy away in fear after their peers had been attacked, but instead made the bold choice to be their own best protectors, while still enjoying college life. And that, my friends, is fighting back.

So thank you to the guys and gals of University of Arizona for hosting GFB. But most of all, thank you for reminding everyone that even after tragedies, on our own time and in our own way, we not only can, but we must fight back!