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Girls Fight Back: The College Girl’s Guide to Protecting Herself

by Erin Weed (2007)
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Erin Weed didn’t just develop the Girls Fight Back program to teach all of the essentials on personal safety and self-defense to college-aged women, she also wrote the book about it! This great read contains personal stories and will teach you:

  • How to set boundaries that work for you and recognize when someone crosses them
  • How to secure your dorm, apartment, or house from break-ins
  • How to live your life as a “bad victim”
  • How to recognize and escape from violent confrontations
  • How to use your intuition to keep you safe

You can get a copy of this book on the our Girls Fight Back shop along with other great products. Keep an eye out for our new College Girl’s Guide coming out in 2015 by Gina Kirkland.

The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence
by Gavin de Becker

If you are interested in gaining an awareness of the world around you and learning how to spot signs of danger before it’s too late, this book is an absolute must read. It is the primer by which we created the Girls Fight Back program and should absolutely be required reading for EVERYONE before they graduate from high school. I shared this book with my son when he was fourteen and I am confident that having this knowledge will help him to be safer in the world. Please buy a copy for yourself and your loved ones. Some of my favorite gems from this book include:

“. . . you . . . are an expert at predicting violent behavior. Like every creature, you can know when you are in the presence of danger.”

“Think of charm as a verb, not a trait.”

“Women are expected to be warm and open, and in the context of approaches from male strangers, warmth lengthens the encounter, raises his expectations, increases his investment, and, at best, wastes time. At worst, it serves the man who has sinister intent by providing much of the information he will need to evaluate and then control his prospective victim.”

“’No’ is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you. . . . If you let someone talk you out of the word ‘no’ you might as well wear a sign that reads, ‘You are in charge.’ . . . ‘no’ is a complete sentence.”

“At core, men are afraid women will laugh at them, while at core, women are afraid men will kill them.”

“People who refuse to let go are becoming more common, and each case teaches us the same valuable lesson: Don’t engage in a war. Wars rarely end well because by definition someone will have to lose.”

“Persistence only proves persistence—it does not prove love. The fact that a romantic pursuer is relentless doesn’t mean you are special—it means he is troubled.”

“When you accept the survival signal as a welcome message and quickly evaluate the environment or situation, fear stops in an instant. Thus, trusting your intuition is the exact opposite of living in fear.”

Get your copy here >

Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)
by Gavin de Becker

This follow up book to The Gift of Fear takes the basic lessons from that book and applies them to parenting and keeping our children safe. This is a must read for anyone with kids. Topics in this book include: what to teach our children about talking to strangers, how to interview a prospective babysitter day care provider or school, how to spot sexual predators, what to teach your child about what to do if they are lost, and what to teach your teenagers to help them stay safe.

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Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls
by Ellen Snortland

This book explains why learning self-defense is such an important skill for women and is a great intro to feminism for young women as well! In Ellen’s own words:

“Violence that kills or maims can be as preventable as water injury or drowning. What if you heard of a country where six thousand of its citizens drowned each year, and where 500,000 citizens come very close to drowning? ‘Damn, why don’t those people learn how to swim?’ you would say. You would say that because you are not burdened by the erroneous belief that some people simply cannot or should not learn to swim. Sadly, most human beings are still burdened with the belief that it’s impossible for women to defend themselves or others when confronted with violence. The purpose of this book is to convince you of just how wrong that belief is—and to inspire you to become a ‘beauty’ who fearlessly ‘bites back’ when your safety, or that of a loved one, is threatened.”

In addition to presenting strong arguments for why all women should learn self-defense, Ellen peppers this book with real life stories of survivors. Powerful and an engaging read.

Get your copy here >

My Story
Elizabeth Smart and Chris Stewart

Most people are familiar with the story of Elizabeth Smart, kidnapped from her home at 14 in the summer of 2002 and enduring 9 months of brutal captivity and abuse before being reunited with her family. What you may not know is that she is now a nationally recognized advocate for children’s rights and the President of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. She also developed a survivor’s guide titled “You’re Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment” designed to help children who have had similar experiences to not give up and know that their lives can go on after these tragic events. Her faith, strength, and pure resilience make this a must read survivor story. She says in her book, “…it’s very important to stress that every survivor must create their own pathway to recovery. What works for one might not work for another…ultimately to get better, I simply made a choice. Life is a journey for us all. We all face trials. We all have ups and downs. All of us are human. But we are also the masters of our fate. We are the ones who decide how we are going to react to life.”

Get your copy here >

Everyday Survival
Laurence Gonzales

At Girls Fight Back, we focus on using your intuition as one of the greatest tools of personal safety. Gonzales examines how the mind works in patterns to make us more safe at times and at other times to put us in more danger. Awareness is always the key, illustrated by the story he tells of a firefighter who sets his watch alarm to go off every hour during a fire. When that alarm goes off, the firefighter uses it as a reminder to stop to, “…look around and question what he’s doing, what he’s missing, what he ought to notice. Moreover, he stops to consider what he’s feeling in his gut too. Maybe there’s a signal he is ignoring.” We all need a mental alarm to stop and asses to prevent us from going too deep into a “vacation state of mind.” He concludes this book by stating, “Although it’s easy to pass through life as if in a waking dream, we can enrich our lives, make ourselves more effective, and sometimes even cast a protective web around ourselves and our children, by a habit of knowing—a craving to know—our world and ourselves and by the simple act of consciously paying attention.” This is a great read to start you down the path of awareness. Gonzales is also the offer of another great book Deep Survival.

Get your copy here >

The unthinkable

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why
Amanda Ripley

Amanda Ripley’s book, The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why, focuses on how humans react in disasters or stressful situations and how those reactions can save us or doom us. This intellectual approach to examining human response is both intriguing and enlightening into how you view the normal and the extreme risks that we are all exposed to in our day to day lives. Ripley teaches readers about The Survival Arc which includes the stages of 1) Shock, 2) Deliberation, and 3) The Decisive Moment. If you have ever wondered how you would react in a life or death situation, it is encouraging to know that, “Again and again, studies have shown that people perform better under stress if they think they can handle it.” In other words, dress rehearsal can prepare you for the real thing, which is why, at Girls Fight Back, we advocate empowering self-defense. In addition to muscle memory and critical knowledge, learning self-defense (both verbal and physical) helps women gain confidence. That confidence alone, can one day save your life. “The most important point is that everyone, regardless of IQ, can manufacture self-esteem through training and experience. This is what soldiers and police officers will tell you; that confidence comes from doing.” WE AGREE!

Get your copy here >

If you are interested in taking a full contact self-defense course in your area, please download our Sassy Self-Defense Guide for more information or drop us a line at

The Safety Godmothers book cover

The Safety Godmothers: The ABCs of Awareness, Boundaries and Confidence for Teens
Ellen Snortland and Lisa Gaeta

One of the basics that all children learn when they go to school is the ABC’s. What they don’t usually learn, but all really need, is the ABC’s of safety. Ellen Snortland and Lisa Gaeta have stepped in to fill the void with their essential new book, The Safety Godmothers: The ABC’s of Awareness, Boundaries, and Confidence for Teens. Through the riveting true stories of 26 interviewees, they spell out the basics of what we all need to know to be safe and live with confidence. Topics covered include boundary setting, dating violence/domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, muggings, fear, verbal strategies to escape a bad situation, violence against the LGBT community, de-escalation, how to say no (the right way), and how to physically defend yourself if there is no other option. The book also includes three sections by the nation’s best known expert on the prediction and management of violence, Gavin de Becker, and a thorough appendix with access to more in depth looks at some of the topics covered. This should be a must read for all teens. Girls Fight Back approved!

Get your copy here >

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