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Tuesday, 08 January 2013 00:00

Helping women overcome "self-defense paradox"

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Tuesday, December 25, 2012
(Published in print: Wednesday, December 26, 2012)

For the past 25 years, I have been honored to participate in a grassroots feminist movement of prevention education. Sometimes called “social-justice empowerment-based self-defense,” this movement is firmly grounded in the reality that most gender-based violence is perpetrated by men known to their victims. Instruction is provided in the context of what I call the “self-defense paradox.”   One facet of this paradox is the fact that one person — the perpetrator — holds sole responsibility for the decision to assault someone. The other is the fact that people at risk of violence can take effective steps to increase their own safety. Our programs are trauma-sensitive, attentive to the presence of survivors in any gathered community.

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