Empowering Children Through Self-Defense

Purple! Dog! Underpants! It’s a classroom, but children are being encouraged to shout random, silly words, and learn to love the power of their voices. They’re also being encouraged to run around and play. And, more often than not, the children are the ones calling the shots. You’ll likely see them standing in assertive positions, across from the adults, controlling their every move. In other words, the kids are doing pretty much everything they’re not allowed to do during the regular school day. This is what a children’s self-defense class looks like, and is a scene we’d love to become more common in classrooms all over the world. Why Do Kids Need Self-Defense? “Children need to learn to se

We ARE Changing the World

​​I hadn’t felt a lack of confidence. I hadn’t felt a lack of power or strength. I exercise, workout, do yoga. I know I am strong. Spending a week at ESD Global Camp taught me, among many lessons, that I didn’t need to lack these to become more filled with them. I didn’t gain muscle mass in just one week. These feelings of being stronger in my body didn’t come from bigger muscles. And yet, after one week, my body is stronger, my voice is louder. The strength was always there. The power comes from within. The techniques are helpful. We practice them over and over, infusing them into the cells of our muscles. Our muscles will remember. We can strike like this. We can kick this hard. The shouti

The Importance of Self-Defense Training for Sexual Violence Prevention

Abstract: Women’s self-defense training has been excluded from sexual violence prevention efforts for a variety of reasons, including concerns that it is ineffective, encourages victim blaming, neglects acquaintance assault, and does not target the underlying factors that facilitate sexual violence. In this article, I argue that these critiques are misguided, founded on (1) misunderstandings of self-defense training, (2) stereotypes about gender, and (3) individualistic assumptions about the impact of self-defense. Further, I assert that empowerment-based self-defense training helps to change the root conditions that allow violence against women to flourish. For all these reasons, and becaus

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