Monday, July 27, 2015

Fight the Fear Campaign

Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile’s Looking Out Foundation invited IMPACT Chicago to offer a free self-defense program for women in the Chicago metropolitan area. The Foundation is underwriting the cost of the workshop and announcing it on their website and during the Brandi Carlile concert tour. 

Email to reserve your spot in the FREE IMPACT Chicago Fight the Fear workshop August 4, 2015, 6-8 pm, Knapp Center, 3145 W. Pratt in Chicago.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tapping into Reservoirs of Courage and Confidence: IMPACT for Girls

So many impressions rise up when I reflect back on the [IMPACT for Girls] training.  I found the work IMPACT did with our daughters to help them find and use their voices to be quite powerful, and emotional, too.  Unfortunately, in teaching our girls to be “nice”, our culture has also encouraged them to completely disconnect from the power of their voices.  Our daughters learned how to use their voices to deter an assailant.  They also learned how to connect the power of voice with specific physical actions to render an assailant incapable of harm.  Then they practiced over and over and over again so that these techniques became set in muscle memory.  This was very emotional to observe and I found myself choking up quite a few times as our daughters tapped into a fierce Inner Warrior they may not have known existed and let it out in order to practice protecting themselves.  Some of the girls had emotional reactions, too.  And if they didn’t yesterday going through the training, you might see it come out today or tomorrow.  I am so very proud of each one of them.  They faced fear and shouted, palm-striked, kneed, and sidekicked right into the heart of it.  It is my sincere hope that by doing so they tapped reservoirs of courage and confidence they didn’t know they had.

With Gratitude,
Adrienne Ann
Minister of Healing Arts

Upcoming Programs for Girls and College Women
Perpetual Motion, 4057 N. Damen Ave , Chicago. 
IMPACT for Girls, August 1 and 2, 10 am - 2 pm
IMPACT for Women Going to College, August 8, noon-5 pm for more information or to register:

Monday, July 13, 2015

Responding to Self-Defense Critics

Before Charlene Senn and colleagues had the opportunity to bask in the positive attention that their rigorous and important study[1] was receiving, the naysayers started:
  • Self-defense is an individual solution to a social problem.[2] 
  • Self-defense places the responsibility for prevention on potential victims not on perpetrators.[3]
  • If a woman defends herself, then the perpetrator will just rape someone else.[4] 
Wondering how to respond to these naysayers? Check out these thoughtful responses from empowerment self-defense instructors and supporters.

Include empowerment self-defense in a multi-pronged strategy to stop sexual assault.
“The CDC has steadfastly refused to consider self-defense training as part of its approach to preventing sexual violence. And because other major organizations - including the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and a large number of universities and colleges - rely on the CDC for their research, self-defense training has been completely left out of the current rush to develop effective prevention strategies, especially on college campuses.” Jocelyn Hollander. “Why Isn’t Self-Defense Training Available to Every Woman Who Wants It? Huffington Post.

Self-defense training can help stop sexual assault
[In response to Senn’s research] “Dr. Sarah DeGue [CDC] stated skeptically that a man who finds himself thwarted by a woman who defends herself against his aggression could move on to a woman who is untrained or otherwise more vulnerable. Thank goodness public health officials didn’t see the polio vaccination that way. Not everyone has to be vaccinated to make a major dent in a public health problem.” Martha McCaughey. “Hey, CDC: Friends Don’t Let Friends Deny the Effectiveness of Self-Defense Training."

Follow the $
“Who takes issue with a program that cuts assault in half, you ask? The federal government, as it turns out….The two researchers [who cast] doubt on the value of Senn’s findings are both employed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), whose sexual assault prevention budget in 2014 was close to $50 million.” Susan Shorn. “Show Us the Money.” Bitchslap: A Column About Women and fighting.

Stop either/or thinking and funding
“We agree that men should stop raping! We agree there needs to be a systemic challenge to culture. We are squarely behind third party interveners, female and male. However, sexual predators are canny about attacking when no "good guys or gals" are around. What then? Write the CDC and tell them to stop their either/or thinking and funding.”Ellen Snortland. “A Deadly Double Standard." Huffington Post.

[1] Charlene Y. Senn et al. “Efficacy of a Sexual Assault Resistance Program for University Women.” New England Journal of Medicine. 2015
[2] Dana Bolger “Smart study finds “resistance program” helps women avoid rape—but at what cost?” Feministing June 11, 2015.
[3] Melissa Healy “Sexual assault prevention program cuts risk of rape nearly 50%, study says.” Science Now June 10, 2015.
[4] Jan Hoffman “College Rape Prevention Program Proves a Rare Success.” New York Times June 10, 2015.

Martha Thompson, IMPACT Chicago Instructor

Monday, July 6, 2015

Teaching Women to Defend Themselves Stops Rape

The New England Journal of Medicine just published the results of a rigorous study of first-year female students at three universities in Canada. About half (451) took a self-defense course and the other half (442) received the more common method of brochures about sexual assault. Participation in the self-defense course significantly reduced the risk of rape.

These findings are consistent with earlier studies that have found that girls and women who take self-defense are less likely to experience sexual assault. Jocelyn Hollander, University of Oregon, studied approximately 300 college students, about half of whom took a self-defense course and about half who didn’t, following up with them a year later. Stanford School of Medicine along with Lurie Packard Children’s Hospital and NO Means No Worldwide studied over 400 girls in Kenya before and 10 months after taking a self-defense course. In both cases, women and girls who had self-defense training experienced substantially lower rates of sexual assault. These findings are consistent with Sarah Ullman’s review of a decade of self-defense research that active resistance is effective in interrupting sexual assault.