Monday, March 25, 2013

Challenge Myths about Rape

A recent article in the Journal of Community Health Nursing reports on a study conducted at Northeastern University, where students were surveyed on knowledge, social norms regarding sexual behavior, and rape myth acceptance. The role of rape myth acceptance in the social norms regarding sexual behavior among college students postulates that students with lower [sexual health] knowledge and higher acceptance of social norms that accept risky behavior are more likely to hold rape-myth attitudes. Males were shown to have a higher rape myth acceptance, and researchers believe that this acceptance can be credited to sexual double standards and a rape-supporting culture.

This study encourages preventionists to think about the kind of education we offer on college campuses. While combating rape myths is clearly necessary, we have to start our work a little further upstream to tackle issues around healthy sexuality, sexual health, and social norms. These pieces of education will support our overall goal of reducing rape myth acceptance, moving towards a primary prevention model, and eliminating sexual violence on college campuses.

Alexis Marbach on August 17, 2012*
* Originally posted by California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (
Campus Prevention

Monday, March 18, 2013

I Relieved My Memory

That girl that walked
In that door the other day,
She still looks as she was,
But she'll never be the same.

The recurring daymares,
Paranoia and hypervigilance
Had taken over with
Its tortuous insolence.

For far too long now,
Fear has commandeered my life.
So I'm calling this “foul,”
And relinquishing this plight.

Chasing my tail,
I've been foraging by day,
Searching for something
From which not to run away.

That girl that came in?
She had no boundaries.
No room to cave in, but
From somewhere, I found me!

Confident and cocky,
I would laugh in your face.
Did you still want to take me?
Please, come get a taste.

Your faces are burned in my memory.
I try, but we know I could never forget.
No chance, no potential remedy
To ease the pain from it.

With each stride on that mat,
Undoubtedly, I'm stronger.
I feel my progress as my body grows sore,
But blankly, I can fight even longer

Than my brain tells me I can,
My muscles keep on moving.
Aware of the capability of man,
They seek safety in dueling.

Three times, we've departed,
More empowered every day.

The vulnerability with which I started
Has brought me such a long way.

Alliance I've found in some of you,
Inspiration from some others.
Profound encouragement too,
And comfort in another.

These things wouldn't be possible
Without the support of my team.
This confidence, not so plausible
If I've had no one to lean

On, no steady medium down.
I'll never have to fight alone,
So powerful, I'll still hear the sound,
And beside each other we've grown,

Learned our capabilities,
A surprise, I'm sure, to us all.
Our strength and body agilities,
We were all so sure we'd fall.

We'll all walk out of here
Stronger women, without a doubt.
Even with our smoke and mirrors,
Looking crazy as hell on the ground!

We've learned how powerful we are,
I know we are more so than we think.
That seems to be the trend thus far,
The deeper we make it, the further we can sink.

I got through this with your support,
Although I came here alone.
The comradery, just the right sort,
All on the same streets we roam.

All strangers, just last week,
We derived strength from each other.
At some point here, we've all felt weak,
And each offered support to another.

Hopping up and down,
Jumping face to face,
Laughing while we hop around,
Glad we're all in this place.

Nothing more to ask for,

Never dreamed it could be this fun.
Hands down for the line's support,
No better way this could be done!

We made something that I've feared so much
Go by just like entertainment.
I never thought I'd see again
Such power in containment.

~Felicia Kamradt

Monday, March 11, 2013

Martha Thompson Receives Peacemaker Award

Nancy Lanoue, Co-Executive Director,*
Thousand Waves Martial Arts & Self-Defense Center

Martha and Nancy

One of the riskiest decisions I ever made was in 1991, when I offered to coordinate the annual conference of the National Women’s Martial Arts Federation here in Chicago at Loyola University. I had had no experience to prepare me for such a task and was a relative newcomer to the organization, but I was driven to the challenge.

Fortunately, the conference didn’t fail and even earned enough money for us to buy our first computer for Thousand Waves. But the most valuable thing I got from it was not the boost to my reputation or a financial windfall. It was an amazing new member, Martha Thompson, who had heard that the conference was offering a self-defense track and decided to check it out. She shortly, thereafter, made the leap into studying martial arts.

At this time, Martha had already been teaching self-defense for several years. She was slowly and steadily building the capacity of the organization, IMPACT Chicago, and extending its reach across Chicago as a provider of feminist, empowerment-oriented self-defense. As many of you know, what IMPACT offers that we at Thousand Waves do not, is the opportunity to work with armored male co-instructors to practice full contact strikes in an adrenalized condition.

Martha has been an inspiring teacher of IMPACT Chicago self-defense for 25 years and, in this capacity, has touched the lives of literally thousands of students, giving them the tools they need to be safe and to heal from whatever violence they have experienced.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to work collaboratively with Martha on many projects. She, Marie O’Brien and I decided to try to articulate our shared vision of what a Feminist Empowerment Model of Self-Defense looks like. Once we captured it on paper, we took it to our colleagues in the NWMAF and got them to adopt it as the standard pedagogic model for their certification program.

Martha’s leadership, in this and countless other projects that she has volunteered for, is a demonstration, in and of itself, of the feminist empowerment model we sought to articulate.  It comes naturally to her to make a place for everyone, respect diverse points of view, draw on the expertise participants bring to the table, bring out the best in everyone, inspire respectful debate and work towards consensus.

One of the reasons Martha is able to so skillfully apply the feminist empowerment model in her self-defense teaching, and to help other teachers like me do it as well, is that this topic has been a major focus of her academic scholarship, as well as her self-defense teaching. Since her retirement from Northeastern Illinois University’s Sociology and Women’s Studies Departments, she has begun a new type of teaching at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she works on preparing future faculty by teaching them her pedagogic methods

I could go on much longer singing the praises of my friend, my martial arts student and my self-defense colleague, but with no further delay, I would like to award the Thousand Waves Peacemaker Award to Martha Thompson.

We honor you, Martha, for your contributions to the development of a Feminist Empowerment Model of teaching and for many years of creative, principled leadership in local, national, and international Women’s Self-Defense work.

Through your academic scholarship and 25 years of inspired teaching with IMPACT Chicago, you have set thousands of positive waves in motion. Thank you for inspiring us to follow in your footsteps.

*Remarks made on the occasion of Dr. Martha Thompson’s Peacemaker Award, February 9, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Celebrate Women’s History Month: Learn Self-Defense!

The 2013 theme for Women’s History Month is "Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics." The math is straightforward: nearly 1 in 5 women in the US has been raped sometime in their lives (Center for Disease Control 2012). The scientific evidence is clear: women’s participation in self-defense training decreases their likelihood of being sexually assaulted in the future (Violence Against Women Network 2011).  

IMPACT Chicago is offering two programs for women and girls in March in celebration of Women’s History Month. 
For women 16 and up: 
IMPACT Core Program, March 8, 9 & 10 (Fri: 5:30-9:30; Sat/Sun: 9-6) 
Belle Plaine Studio (2014 W. Belle Plaine, Chicago, IL 60618). 

For girls 12-15: 
IMPACT for Middle School Girls, March 16 and 17 (Sat/Sun 11am – 3pm) 
Knapp Center, 3145 W. Pratt Blvd., Chicago, IL  60645.

Celebrate women’s history month by encouraging a woman or girl you love, including yourself, to take a self-defense course. Imagine: a world where every woman and girl knows how to defend herself!