Violence against women is an insidious reality on a global scale. Women who do not have personal experience with violence still witness brutality against their gender through entertainment and broadcast media. Even more alarming is that the messages women receive reinforce their roles as victims and do nothing to free them from the cycle of violence. As a result, many women live in fear of being attacked and are often debilitated by Cultural Myths that train them to think they are frail, vulnerable, and incapable of defending themselves. In order to combat the dangerous Cultural Myths that negatively affect a woman’s self-image, this inquiry explores the benefits of women’s self-defense training through a social justice lens. I will seek to answer three primary questions: (1) What hinders women from defending themselves? (2) What can women gain from self-defense training? (3) What type of self-defense curriculum will best meet the needs of women? To answer these questions, I will draw upon research of women’s self-defense, my own experience as a martial artist, and my education as a social justice trainer. I will also focus extensively on reflections and observations from a self-defense training I conducted. I will examine needs assessments and evaluations from participants as well as personal observations. I will then integrate my experience with this training and evaluate my own design and training process through the standards laid out in the Training of Trainers in Social Justice and Intercultural Communication course at the SIT Graduate Institute.


Cognition and Perception | Inequality and Stratification | Social Psychology