Interview with three generations of IMPACT graduates: Nilda (grandmother), Lili (mother) and Angie (daughter).
Angie: I was trying to explain, to my boyfriend at the time, about how great my first experience with IMPACT was, how excited I was to take another class and he was weirded-out [chuckles]. I encouraged him to come to the graduation, but, no, he couldn’t handle it. He saw me do a couple of muggings and he was nervous, because he noticed I had a smile on my face and wondered whether I was getting some enjoyment out of it. I tried to explain it wasn’t sadism, it was happiness that comes from empowerment. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last much longer.
Nilda: It’s true, there’s a certain joy in knowing you have the tools and the wherewithal to ward off something aggressive from someone close to you.
Lili: There’s a freedom in knowing when my mother and my daughter go out; I don’t have to be concerned about them.
N: I feel the same.
L: Nilda’s best friend took IMPACT, too, shortly after Nilda did. When I think of them going out to plays, I think of them as double-trouble. Nobody out there could imagine that these two elderly ladies have this ability to take out bad guys. They would be quite surprised!
N: It’s true, what I learned in IMPACT. Even not knowing the why behind all this, I tried not to look like a victim and walk confidently, but I was scared. I have met so many women and I know only one person who has reached my age and hasn’t had anything happen to her. But, it may be that it’s the way she walked [in] her life. In most cases, they won’t consider IMPACT because they’re frightened to protect themselves.
L: As Angie said, “I don’t want to think about it”. At times, I’ve been very frustrated that I can’t convince someone that this is money and time well spent. I talk to a person I barely know and she jumps on it and I get to attend her graduation. Other people to whom I keep bringing it up, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. How do you get women to sign up?
N: The excuse is “I’m not interested” or “I don’t have the time, my life is too complicated right now”. The information is out there and those who are ready will come across it. The Internet is the best way to find out about IMPACT. Before the Internet, I talked to a group of women on the Metra about IMPACT because I overheard them talking about how difficult it is to go about one’s business after nightfall. I just feel IMPACT has to be everywhere and easily accessible.AC Racette interviewed Nilda, Lili, and Angie on December 21, 2012.