National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA)
Women do not ask for, cause, invite, or deserve to be assaulted. Women and men sometimes exercise poor judgment about safety behavior, but that does not make them responsible for the attack. Attackers are responsible for their attacks and their use of violence to overpower, control, and abuse another human being.
Our women’s self-defense program does not "tell" you what you "should" or "should not" do. Our program offers options, techniques, and a way of analyzing situations. Our program may point out what USUALLY works best in MOST situations, but each situation is unique and the final decision rests with the person actually confronted by the situation.
Women, in particular, need to make self-protection a greater priority. Having the delusion that it can’t happen to you or that it’s something that only happens to other people is the kind of attitude predators depend on. The more informed you are, the better prepared you will be in the event you are targeted by a predator. By empowering yourself with knowledge, your fear will not escalate, it will diminish. Self-defense is a countermeasure that involves defending yourself from harm.
Many of the non-physical techniques we teach are from the New York Times Best Seller “The Gift of Fear: survival signals that protect us from violence” (1997) by Gavin De Becker. De Becker has gathered information from thousands of interviews with women who were victims of violence and from convicted sexual predators. From this information, he has come up with strategies that women can use to keep themselves safe.
Questions and Answers About Women's Self-Defense
Q: Must I Train for Years to Learn to Defend Myself?
No. A basic course can offer enough concepts and skills to help you develop self-protection strategies that you can continue to build upon. Self-defense is not karate or martial arts training. It does not require years of study to perfect. There are women who have successfully improvised and prevented an assault and never have taken a class. Women often practice successful self-defense strategies without knowing it!
Q: If I Used Physical Self-Defense Could I Get Hurt Worse?
The question to answer first is what does "hurt worse" mean? Rape survivors speak eloquently about emotional hurts lasting long after physical hurts heal. Studies show a physical self-defense response does not increase the level of injury, and sometimes decreases the likelihood. Also, women going along with the attacker have sometimes been brutally injured anyway. The point of using self-defense is to de-escalate a situation and get away as soon as possible. Knowing some physical techniques increases the range of possible self-defense options, but the decision to choose a physical option must remain with the person in the situation.
Q: What Does Realistic Mean?
Words like "most realistic," "best," "guaranteed success," etc. are all advertising gimmicks. Choosing a self-defense class is a serious decision and is preferably based on some research. No program or instructor can replicate a "real" assault since there are so many different scenarios, and because a real attack would require a no-holds-barred fight which would be irresponsible and extremely dangerous to enact. Responsible self-defense training requires control. It is important that each student in a class is able to control her own participation in the class and never feels forces to participate
Q: How Much Should I Pay?
Paying a lot of money for a course does not mean that you automatically get better instruction. On the other hand, don't assume that all programs are the same and just go for the cheapest. It is always beneficial to be an educated consumer. Shop around the same as for anything else you buy that is important to you.
Q: Am I Too Old? Out Of Shape? What if I Have Some Disabilities?
You don't have to be an athlete to learn how to defend yourself. A good program is designed to adapt to every age and ability and provides each student with the opportunity to learn. Each individual is unique and students should be able to discuss their own needs. Some programs have specialized classes for specific groups.
Q: How Can I Tell a "Good" Course From a "Bad" One?
A good course covers critical thinking about self-defense strategies, assertiveness, powerful communication skills, and easy-to-remember physical techniques. The instructor respects and responds to your fears and concerns. Instruction is based on a belief that women can act competently, decisively, and take action for their own protection. Essentially, a good course is based on intelligence and not muscle. It offers tools for enabling a woman to connect with her own strength and power. These courses are out there. Good luck in your research. Taking a self-defense class is one of the most positive acts a woman can do for herself!
NO WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE SEMINARS ARE CURRENTLY SCHEDULED
Defense Modules For Study During Women's Self-Defense Seminar
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