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You Are Worth  Fighting For!

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PHOTO BY Deborah Hart

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, an award-winning international speaker, survivor advocate and self-defense expert who is dedicated to carrying on the mission of empowering women around the world. Nicole was a Senior National Speaker for the GFB for 6 years, and  took ownership of Girls Fight Back and all associated programs in 2020.

 

She has developed additional gender inclusive programming as well as programming for outdoor safety, travel safety, and empowerment. Nicole has presented over 450 of these keynotes, seminars, and workshops to groups around the world, including at over 100 US military installations.

Girls Fight Back and our associated programs have won numerous awards including most recently, the 2023 NASPA Peer Initiatives award for Students Fight Back at Miami University, OH. 

OUR Core VALUES

WE BELIEVE THAT EVERY INDIVIDUAL IS THEIR OWN BEST PROTECTOR
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.

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WE HAVE EMPOWERED over  1 MILLION PEOPLE SINCE 2001

Fight Back on Spring Break

GFB Professional Snapshot

450+

Speaking Engagements Around the World

100+

Military Installations Trained

350+

Hours of Full Force

Self-Defense Training

1,000,000+

People Trained

14

Countries Worked In

Self-defense is so much more than physical skills.

OUR PROGRAMS ARE EFFECTIVE AND ENGAGING

Peer Reviewed and Evidence-Based!
GFB Programs Evaluation Report

“This was an eye opening, and a fun way of learning about
some hard subjects!”

-STUDENT, CENTRALIA COLLEGE

THE facts ABOUT VIOLENCE

  • Violence affects every community on earth. 

  • 1 in 5 young women will experience sexual assault in college.

  • 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual assault.

  • 91% of child abuse is perpetrated by someone known to the child.

  • Every 68 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.

  • 26% of gay and 37% of bisexual men experience sexual assault.

  • 1 in 2 transgender people will be the victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. These numbers are higher for BIPOC communities.

  • More than 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

  • Approximately 86% of survivors know their assailants.

Statistics sourced from:
National Intima
te 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

Research over the last 40 years consistently shows that Empowerment-Based Self-Defense education (like Girls Fight Back programs) reduces women’s risk of experiencing violence, including completed and attempted sexual assaults by up to 50%!
*Studies are limited regarding stats for men, non-binary, trans, and gender non-conforming communities.

GFB Founder & Inspiration

Erin Weed Headshot

Erin Weed
FOUNDER

Erin founded GFB in 2001 at the age of 23 in response to the murder of Shannon, who was her close friend and sorority sister. Erin has won many awards for her work in women’s empowerment and social entrepreneurship. She was a columnist for CosmoGirl and is the author of Girls Fight Back! The College Girl’s Guide to Protecting Herself (now available in its 3rd edition). She is the creator of the GFB seminar seen by over a million women, and also the GFB Speaker Academy. Erin sold GFB to Gina Polesetsky in 2013, and Gina sold it to Nicole in 2020.

Shannon McNamara

Shannon McNamara
INSPIRATION

Shannon was murdered on June 12, 2001, just a few days shy of her 22nd birthday. While the world lost an incredible human being that day, heaven gained one hell of an angel. Shannon’s story has inspired over one million women to become their own best defenders, and to live the badass life each of us was intended. And for that, we are so grateful.

Friends of GFB

Gina Polesetsky
SISTER - FRIEND OF GFB

Gina Polesetsky

Gina Polesetsky, M.A., LMFT, opened Kirkland Productions, Inc., a college entertainment/speakers agency, in 2000.  In 2007, she opened her second company, KP Comedy, and in 2013, she purchased her third company, Girls Fight Back. She sold Girls Fight Back to Nicole Snell in 2020. Gina is currently a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California, Nevada, and Idaho.

Bree Swartz
SISTER - FRIEND OF GFB

Bree

Bree is a graduate of Purdue University, where she studied Mass Communication and Theatre, was an ambassador for the College of Liberal Arts, and a Co-Captain for the Purdue Golduster Dance Team.

“Nicole is such an engaging and passionate teacher, and the skills and strategies she teaches have really helped me feel more confident not only while I’m traveling as a woman on my own, but also doing the things I want to do in life in general, like hiking solo, and just walking home at night.”
-STUDENT, CENTRALIA COLLEGE

Business Certifications

Women Owned Small Business

Woman Owned Small Business
(WOSB)

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SAM Registered

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NACP Credentialed Victim Advocate

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LA County Vendor

California Certification

CA Small Business Certification

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LSBE Certified by LA County

Our Allies & Partners

IPS IMPACT Personal Safety

IMPACT Personal Safety

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Girl Scouts San Diego

Interactive Advocacy

Interactive Advocacy

Strand Squared

Strand Squared

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She Dreams of Alpine

Hush No More

Hush No More

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