Lauren Taylor and Empowerment Based Self-Defense

Lauren Taylor has it just right when she addresses EMPOWERMENT based Self-Defense. “Empowerment self-defense does more than help individual women fight off rape attempts: It changes the world, individually and collectively – and ultimately, systemically. Women who have taken empowerment self-defense interact differently with the men in their lives. They take more healthy risks. They live more authentically. They raise their children differently. And on and on. Person by person, they are changing the world and ending rape culture. They’re part of the revolution that is feminism. Which we think is something we all can agree is not victim-blaming – and is a good thing.”




A One-Word New Year’s Resolution

This is a guest post from a GFB friend – Katy Mattingly. She is a Personal Safety Educator and self-defense instructor at the University of Michigan, and the author of Self-Defense: Steps to Survival.

How’s that New Year’s resolution coming along?

This year a number of my friends made New Year’s resolutions to “only say yes to those activities I really want to do” or “to only take on the number of projects I can handle without driving myself nuts”.  Most students I know are in the same boat.  And most women.  Heck, most people I know are planning to conquer about 1,000 projects this year, which is a plan guaranteed to leave us feeling like frantic failures.

Another way to frame this resolution is – Practice Saying NO.  If I try to get an A on every assignment, take on every community service project I’m asked to do, or attend every event I’m invited to – I would collapse.  We simply can’t manage our workloads or our lives without saying no.

And it’s not the easiest skill to learn.  If you find it challenging to refuse anyone anything, here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Start small.  Make a list of 5 people or events you’d like to turn down, and rank them from easiest to hardest.  Start with the easiest one first – you might really enjoy saying no to it!

2. Practice.  Just like riding a bike, we’re likely to feel a little wobbly the first time we say no to joining that cool new Advisory Board or hosting the huge campus-wide 80’s dance party.  If you’re worried about how the conversation will go, ask a friend to role-play it with you a few times before you head out into the world with your big ole “No thank you.”

3. Try a three-part statement.  A simple tool for assertive communication recommended by many Personal Safety Educators: 1) Describe the unwanted behavior, 2) Describe the effect on you, and then 3) Describe the behavior you want in the future:

a) You borrowed my car again last night without letting me know.

b) I felt disrespected and I needed it to get to class.

c) I want you to ask my permission in the future.

And if it still feels hard to say no, know that you are in good company.  Explore why it’s difficult for many of us to say no, and get some great practical tips for how to do it from Lauren Taylor of Defend Yourself.

Remember, as Lauren writes: “You completely and utterly deserve to have your boundaries be known and be respected by others.”

You’re worth it!