‘Not today, Motherf—ker’: Runner Takes Down Attacker

3 Apr, 2017

However, each “feel good” moment comes at a cost. For every story that raises our spirits and ends with someone who stops an assault, the story begins with someone experiencing violence. And it’s really hard to cheer for that.

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Black Lives Matter

28 Feb, 2017

One way in which Black Lives Matter has influenced IMPACT Chicago is in our examining and revising our approach to getting to safety after an attack. For many years, our getting to safety mantra ended with “911.” We have changed that mantra to end with “Get to safety” or “Walk to Safety.” * The original mantra was based on good intentions but didn’t reflect the realities of Black women who have defended themselves against violence. The guiding principles of Black Lives Matter and Mariame Kaba’s book No Selves to Defend helped us see the necessity of changing our safety mantra.

The change to “Get to Safety” is consistent with our commitment to expanding people’s choices and not offering a formulaic approach to self-defense. Everyone has benefited from this change because the emphasis is on people making choices based on their assessment of themselves, their relationship with the person(s) targeting them, and their knowledge of the situation they are in and no assumptions about what safety is for all. This is an example of how centering the lives of Black people benefits everyone.

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The day the class plan went out the window

15 Nov, 2016

The day after the election I had to face a group of 8th grade girls, in the final class of our series. This class was the last hour of a 15-hour program. In this hour, they didn’t need to practice their strikes – they are well trained and well rehearsed already. Together, my teaching partner and I offered something that might be in short supply: a space where everyone was heard, valued, and supported, at least for an hour.

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Welcome Stacey Jackson to Prepare’s team

13 Oct, 2016

Prepare welcomes Stacey Jackson to our team as Director of Development and Community Outreach.  Stacey was introduced to Prepare six years ago and graduated from student, to class assistant, to certified instructor for K-12 programs across the tri-state area. Stacey’s specialty is helping organizations grow. She created the New York Chapter of the SAG Foundation and oversaw a period of increased membership, programming, staff as well as the opening of the New York Actors Center in Lincoln Center. Most recently, she served as the Director of Venture Growth for Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) where she designed and implemented a fellowship program for civic entrepreneurs and provided executive coaching to a portfolio of first-time organizational leaders. Stacey is a graduate of…

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8 Jun, 2016

The case of a women’s rape by a Stanford student and the lenient sentence handed down by Judge Persky to her assailant Brock Turner has created outrage and waves of protest including petitions for his recall here and here and here. Guilt wasn’t in doubt – the assault was interrupted by witnesses. However, it’s nothing new to see short sentences, lesser counts, or probation.  Failure to prosecute or even accept a report from a survivor is common. His father says his son’s life shouldn’t be ruined by “20 minutes of action“. He implies that the damage done to the victim — the disruption to her life and impact on her health and well-being — is inconsequential and asks us to consider the damage to his…

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The Intern, guest blog post

10 May, 2016

The notion of using “I feel…” statements sounds so simple, but is actually a very difficult habit to adopt and helps foster self-reflection and mindfulness. I believe completing the Basics course has helped me grow immensely as both an activist and as a person.

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#DoYouKazoo Anti-Street Harassment Rally 4/16

6 Apr, 2016

#DoYouKazoo #EndSH Join Prepare and Breakthrough Catalysts at the Hollaback! 2016 Anti-Street Harassment Rally April 16 at Tompkins Square Park NYC from 2 – 4 p.m. Have you ever been told that street harassment is really just a compliment? Or that you can’t take a joke? How tired are you of this conversation, which never seems to change? We’re tired too! Join us to challenge street harassment myths at the Hollaback! Anti-Street Harassment Rally on April 16. We’ll form a chorus of kazoos—kind of a reverse rape whistle—and debunk the street harassment myths we’ve all encountered.

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5 Ways Rape Culture invalidates reports of sexual violence

15 Dec, 2015

Gavin de Becker’s work on threat assessment highlights 5 responses we employ to invalidate our intuition. These same responses are used to invalidate a survivor’s report of sexual violence. DENIAL. RATIONALIZATION. MINIMIZATION. JUSTIFICATION. EXCUSE-MAKING. … Instead, let’s stick with our instinct (and humanity) and respond to people who tell us they have been sexually assaulted like this: “I believe you. I am sorry that happened to you. How can I support you?”

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Powerful or powerless communication?

18 Aug, 2015

I think there is another aspect to the nature of less direct speech styles. I think women (and people with less power) are scared about what happens when they speak assertively. Using a “softer” communication style is an adaptation to existing power dynamics and its not just deference, consideration, or soft influence. We know the rule: Be nice and deferential to stay safe and keep relationships. But that’s not all. Speak up and you’re out of line and people want to hurt you or cut you down.

The news is filled with women who say “no” or “stop” and then suffer greatly, including paying with their lives. So, women get more advice about soft communication: Tell him you have a boyfriend. Say, it’s not you, it’s me. Say, maybe another time. The message comes across to the rest of us – saying “no” or speaking up can be dangerous so it is important to be very careful and soften your message at all costs. Or don’t say anything. It’s a survival skill, sometimes conscious and sometimes unconscious. No wonder some people use a style of “softer” and less direct communication at times – lives (jobs, relationships) are at stake.

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Dear Serena

28 Jul, 2015

I’m angry and sad to see the continuation of the racist and sexist coverage you receive. It hurts professional athletes and aspiring young athletes like my 12-year-old niece. As a hockey player, she can relax in a uniform that obscures her body and focus on her skating and puck handling. It took her years to be comfortable enough with her body that she could take up dance and wear a leotard and tights. I’m excited that she now dances and plays hockey with equal enthusiasm.

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