Monday, February 13, 2012

Impact Graduates Have High Confidence

Report on IMPACT Chicago Core Programs 

Jessi Holzman, Northeastern Illinois University graduate (sociology), analyzed pre and post questionnaires from the 2010 IMPACT Chicago Core Program and prepared a detailed report of demographics and participants’ fears, history of violence, changes in confidence, skills learned, and other outcomes. For the full report, go to

Holzman’s report notes that:
  • IMPACT graduates reflect the age, class, and sexuality of Chicago demographics, but IMPACT could do more outreach in African-American, Asian-American, and Latina communities. 
  • Two-thirds of IMPACT students did not have prior self-defense training. 
  • One-third of IMPACT students experienced past sexual trauma while the majority of participants have feared sexual violence. 
  •  IMPACT graduates rate the self-defense scenarios as realistic. 
  •  After course completion, IMPACT graduates rate their confidence in and knowledge of self-defense high. 
  • IMPACT participants’ overall self-confidence increases from the beginning to the end of the course.
IMPACT Chicago Executive Director Martha Thompson says: “Jessi’s report on the effectiveness of techniques provided the foundation for a portion of the day-long instructor retreat where we focused on technique. The hip toss from the stomach was the technique where women reported feeling least effective. We examined the purpose of the technique and experimented with different combinations of instructors until we found a way to teach the technique that was simpler and could be executed successfully in a variety of situations. Since we introduced a new way of teaching this technique women are reporting more confidence in doing the technique and we see more success. We are also addressing other aspects of her report for marketing and other elements of programming.”
After completing her report, Jessi signed up for the Core Program and then took Defense Against Multiple Attackers. She says: “IMPACT is more than just a self-defense course. For me, IMPACT became a state of mind.  The class empowered me to reclaim my voice and recreate a different ending. I am no longer a passive bystander within my own life- I own my choices, my boundaries, and my body. I have the ability to say “NO!” but also to say “Yes!”

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