IMPACT did for me in 20 hours what 10 years of therapy could not…This is something every woman should do![it] has helped a lot with the anxiety problems I used to have. I was terrified to jog in my neighborhood at night; I was terrified to leave my blinds open even an inch. I was terrified of the world in general. Years of therapy fixed nothing. And ever since I started taking this class I’m not really afraid of much at all. I know now that I have a plan of action. And that makes me feel so much safer.
I am a very nice person. There have been times where people will make me uncomfortable, but I didn’t know what else to do but smile and nod. I feel like this course gave me the gift of telling people to back off and how to protect myself if they don’t listen.
I was sexually assaulted multiple times by a friend when I was young. I didn’t know I could say ‘No’ and I didn’t know how to say ‘No’. This program gave me the tools to prevent anything like that happening again. And if it did, I know I could defend myself. Thank you!
I was raped as a young girl. The experience became stuck in my body and ruled my life in a powerful undercurrent. Through therapy, I was able to access these memories and work with them. I signed up for this class knowing that this was the next step for me, yet also very scared of what would come up for me. Yes, memories came up. Yes, tears and anger and grief came up. But the container of the class was so powerful and supportive that I fought through it. I have remembered my fighting spirit. I have awakened the lioness within me and looked her in the face. I walk with her now in me without fear of that power that is mine. It is my birthright. And I have reclaimed it.
Before I took this class, I was convinced the world would walk all over me, and it did because I let it. Years of therapy fixed nothing. I was in an abusive relationship and afraid of everything. During the class, I dumped the boyfriend who treated me so badly and started jogging at night, something I thought I could never do.
This class has given me so much confidence not only in my defensive ability, but in myself and my power to make my own decisions. I was raped over the summer and I don’t feel intimidated anymore. I feel that I can now be in full control and never be violated again thanks to this class.
-Eliza, 14 years old, Basics Graduate
When my daughter was 5-years-old she witnessed her father battering me. That incident shattered her sense of security and her trust in me. She saw me as being helpless and not protecting myself so she lost confidence in my capacity to protect her. It took me seven years to get myself in a financial and emotional position to leave the marriage. Since that time I have participated in many forms of therapy and empowerment to increase my self-confidence and improve my sense of self as a woman. The IMPACT program was the most profound of all the modalities I’ve experienced. Not only did it give me effective, practical strategies for self-defense, it helped me gain a positive view of my body and its inherent power and ability. My daughter and I took the training together and it helped us rework the twenty year old wound. She saw me being brave and effective! For that I am eternally grateful.
I am a domestic violence survivor, and I didn’t realize how long I’d been carrying a sense of shame, anger, and fear from what had happened to me in my home. IMPACT helped me begin to heal this. Now I feel much more confidence – and differently about myself.
After graduating from the teen women’s basic course I feel more confident when walking by myself. I’m more aware and don’t feel intimidated. I’m able to discern a safe situation from a potentially dangerous one. If I was ever assaulted, I’m pretty sure that I would not become a victim.
Two days after completing the eight-hour basic training, I had an opportunity to put my newly learned skills to work. Imagine my surprise when I experienced myself moving into a ready stance complete with verbal defense before I even realized it! Bravo! Thank you for helping me to feel more secure about my ability to take care of myself in this world.
Real Life Test…
He approached me and mumbled, “How are you?” and in the same instant grabbed my upper arm and tried to pull me into the car.
It only took a split second for me to find my voice and to say loud and clear, “Don’t touch me” as I jerked my arm back as hard as I could—breaking his tight grip. He looked stunned and his surprise rendered him immobile for a brief moment. I certainly didn’t respond as the “victim” that he was anticipating. I walked quickly past the car and up the street. Before turning the corner, I glanced back and saw him looking around to see if there had been any witnesses. Then he sped off in his car. I managed to take a quick look at his license plate as he drove away and was able to memorize 5 of the 6 digits.
At the bar
“You’re amazing. You’re so amazing,” he kept saying to me. He turned my head towards him and aggressively tried to kiss me. Instantly, my training kicked in. I put up my hands and yelled “NO!”
Everyone in that end of the bar heard it loud and clear, even over the live band. Half the bar turned and looked at him. He asked, “Well, why not?” I said at the same volume, “Because I don’t want to!”
He shied away for about an hour, thoroughly embarrassed, and then came back to give it another try. I was talking to a friend when he came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I turned around and said, “Get your hands off me or I’ll have you thrown out.” He stepped back put his head down and said, “Well, then, maybe I should leave.” “Maybe you should.” I replied.
He got up and stormed out of the bar. I haven’t seen him there since.
Walking the neighborhood
As I was walking, I heard a bike approaching behind me. I moved to the side of the path to make room for the biker to pass and the next thing I knew, a man’s hand was squeezing my breast!
I knocked his hand off of me and yelled “What the f*!k are you doing?!” His eyes were as wide as saucers and he started peddling madly away. Apparently he didn’t expect such an angry, impassioned response.
Afterwards, my friends were astonished that I still did my daily power-walk at the same time, same place. I didn’t change my behavior and hide in my apartment because some creepy breast-grabber (perhaps more) was out there. I did however, turn to look at every biker who passed me on the path after that. I guess the breast-grabber must have stayed away from my neighborhood after that because I never saw him again.
My 17 year-old daughter and I were recently in San Diego and were walking in a parking lot at night when we saw a “suspicious” looking person was walking towards us. My daughter grabbed my elbow, whispered, “avoid a potentially dangerous situation,” and steered me to the other side of the parking lot. Nothing untoward occurred with the stranger and I was so happy to know that she retained what she learned with all of you.
Voice is our greatest tool against becoming a victim
We were attacked by two men. One came right at me.
In the moment, I felt anger—not fear—at being attacked and fought back fiercely. I wasn’t surprised I fought back; during IMPACT training I found my “fighting spirit” easy to access. I had clarity and precision, and acted in a logical, effective manner.
I had the presence of mind to realize that the silence around me meant that I was not using my voice! I reminded myself to breathe and yell – and I found my reserve of strength. My assailant—shocked at my loud, powerful resistance—backed off. My frozen friends responded to my instructions and we ran to safety.
I was on an afternoon walk when I was grabbed from behind. I thought it was a friend messing around. I said, “Come on, let me go.” Then his grip tightened, and I felt his erection. Then it hit me: “I’m being assaulted!”
He grabbed me just like IMPACT instructors do during class. I took a deep breath and thought, “Oh no! He has no idea what he just got himself into!” I released a yell that was so powerful I surprised myself! I struck his groin and broke his grip. I turned to see him already sprinting away.
One year ago I left my job to go to the pipeline protest that was taking place at Standing Rock, the ancestral homeland of some of the first Americans, the Lakota people. I was proud of them for taking a stand, as the Lakota people are part of my ancestry and I’m proud of that. I somehow feel the pain that has trickled down through the generations of a broken people though I don’t have the right answer for many who ask, “What percentage are you?” That question has only been asked of me before and after Standing Rock, I never heard it once at camp.
What I found there was life changing. I lived there from October through December 2016. I celebrated my 30th birthday there. I have no words to describe the place other than to say:
· I did try to do it justice and have completed a book, Peace Standards: Standing Rock, that I look forward to getting to you
· I knew there was no going back to life before Standing Rock; no going forward with eyes closed, now that they’ve been opened
· It’s driven me to spend 2017 learning what there is to do about it all, my part in it and how to do it.
Here are those lessons:
Mother Teresa has so sweetly summed up the internal journey that I continue to work at:
The fruit of silence is prayer, the fruit of prayer is faith, the fruit of faith is love, the fruit of love is service, the fruit of service is peace.
Yes, that speaks to the truths I saw, in practice, at Standing Rock and which have been my compass since. In 2017:
- Spreading love through service kept me busy and travelling Texas, Utah, Florida, back to Texas, St. Louis, MO, Colorado, and back home to California.
- Finding wisdom (the what and the how of my why!) and peace in solitude got me lost for many, many enlightening days in the great wilderness that, currently, struggles to remain protected across the states.
- WWOOFing for the first time introduced to me to real life heroes who showed me that any and every adversity may be overcome and can be achieved through the vehicle of good business; mindful resourcefulness, neither losing sight of quality nor sacrificing the gifts of Mother Nature with frivolousness, despite success, growth, and the creeping effect of many years.
- Divesting (the teaching of it) has and continues to be the most important flag that I can fly in the wake of the Standing Rock pipeline protest: we must stop buying into, and therefore perpetuating, the toxic aspects of our society. The possibilities are endless; the easiest way to start is by personally reassessing needs from wants… for example, can I curb the materialism of the holidays by choosing quality(time) over quantity? Do I need to use individually packaged coffees every day or is their a less resource-consuming solution? Can I get in the habit of carrying and using my reusable cups and grocery bags? Most powerfully, can I move my business from corporate banks to local credit unions? Our money is their wealth and their target, conversely the taking away of our money is their Achilles heal.
- In feeling conflicted by the direction of that compass, presence of moment, anti-materialism, and simplicity against my forced engagement in the very social media which was the only channel allowing our voices from the ground in bloody, violent, DAPL-owned North Dakota to be heard … I learned to silkscreen (print) my own tshirts. With each step forward, like a highway billboard, Love or Happily Divested speaks across all of my clothes; I pass them out as I travel along.
- I became a certified RAD Self-Defense instructor. This option brings practicality and affordability to defense education. Go to a class near you.
For me it was a year of becoming lighter and feeling freedom as I’ve never known it. It has been the best year of my life and I look forward to all the rest, however many I’m gifted, topping it!
Gofundme to launch soon 🙂