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Monday, July 18, 2011

Why do I have to wear a beard to go running at night?

Can you imagine? I was just told a story of a woman who literally put on a fake beard and disguised herself as a man, so that she would feel safer running alone in Chicago. She had odd working hours and she liked to run. Rather than just give up an exercise she enjoyed, she created a “work around” in her life. It worked – for her. But doesn’t it make you mad to hear about it? How many times in your life have you created a “work around” to feel safe, or at least safer.

For example, when I choose my social activities, I always consider how I’m going to get home.

Do I spend more money on cabs than my male counterparts spend? Yes.

Do I carry a big bag with my tennis shoes just in case I have to walk farther than expected? Yes.

Do I call my friend when I get home so she knows I got home safe? Yes.

Do I think my male friends go through this same kind of pre-event planning and post-event safety check?

It’s just something that has become part of my everyday life.

We create our own version of safety rules for our loved ones and ourselves. And for good reason. They work. They make us feel more secure. I’m an IMPACT grad and I do these things. I know how to deliver a knockout blow, yet I still remain vigilant.

I can’t imagine what it must be like for women and girls who receive no self-defense training at all. Maybe that’s why I am so passionate about making our programs available to as many women and girls as possible.

You can help us spread the word about upcoming IMPACT Core Programs by emailing, texting, and calling your friends, family, and coworkers. You can bring someone to the “What is IMPACT” speech and demonstration on the last day of class. You can even volunteer to share your story of what IMPACT has meant to you.

I believe all of us who have been empowered by IMPACT have an opportunity to truly make a difference – one woman at a time.

Here’s to a safe and happy summer, with no need for disguises.


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