I took my first empowerment-model self-defense class in 1999, and I've been teaching it since 2000. For 14 years, I’ve been deeply invested in this way of helping women, children, and other targeted populations discover their power and reduce their risk of harm.
Empowerment self-defense, or ESD, was developed by feminist activists who rejected the old, male-designed-and-taught self-defense models of the '50s and '60s. They wanted a system that taught practical skills within the context of rape culture; one that addressed the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social/cultural components of self-defense. The ESD model is constantly fine-tuned by the people who teach it; today, for example, the National [...]
This story is an update to this story, published here in April 2012.
Six months ago, I sat waiting in my gynecologist’s exam room chair, fully clothed and wishing I were anywhere else. At that particular moment, I’d even have preferred being naked and spread-eagled on the paper-lined bed. It’s not true what they say about the stirrups being the worst part of the ladyparts exam room: it’s the chair. Once you’re clothed and in the chair, it means you’re there to talk.
You never forget your first time debriefing with your gynecologist. Mine was four years ago, at age 22, when I sat crumpled in a chair [...]
Via Longreads—a wonderful service that you, too, can support!—here is a story from a small town in Missouri that endured its own Steubenville-esque trauma in January 2012, when a senior football player from a prominent family was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl while she was intoxicated. Another male student allegedly filmed the act on a cell phone. Maryville, Mo., initially rallied around the girl, but within just two months, the county prosecutor dropped charges against Matthew Barnett, the girl's alleged rapist. There is a lot to process in here, but one thing that stuck with me is when the local sheriff said [...]
The first time audiences saw Hedy Lamarr, she was running naked through a field. The second time they saw her, she was in the throes of a very animated orgasm. The next time she appeared on screen—more than five years later—she’d have a new name, a new language, and a new image, but the effect was the same: just the sight of her was enough to stop Hollywood, and audiences across America, in their tracks.
But a new name wasn’t enough to distance Hedy Lamarr from her past as the “Ecstasy Girl,” the star of the so-called “art film” that scandalized all of Europe, and received special denunciation by the [...]