Success doesn’t always mean physically defeating an assailant. One student told us that she’d not left her house after dark since her rape nearly ten years earlier. She’d boxed her life into a small, rigid package in an effort to keep herself safe. About a week after her Basics graduation, she called to tell us she’d had a wonderful evening out with a few girlfriends. She was thrilled to be able to do what she wanted – go where she wanted when she wanted – all with the confidence that she can defend herself if she needs to but more importantly that she can enjoy herself again.
Good Example of All the Ways IMPACT Skills Come Out Unexpectedly
College Freshman Stands Up for Herself
“I was rear-ended last week by a kid who was following too closely as we drove toward the sunrise. Afterwards, as we stood by the side of the road exchanging information, I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath and wanted to call the cops to cover myself with an official report. Though he’d been very friendly and apologetic during our entire exchange, he got rushed and said he was going to be late for work and really had to go. He tried to convince me the cops weren’t necessary and that I was just being silly.
I was tempted to just let him go. Though he was smaller than me, that old familiar “don’t piss off the guy” fear writhed in my stomach. But I decided to trust my intuition and firmly insisted we do things by the book and call the cops. He stopped trying to convince me otherwise sat in his car while I talked to the police dispatch.
In the past I would have easily let him slime out of it and I would have left myself holding the bag. But this time I didn’t let it happen. I set a boundary and did what I needed to do to take care of my own safety and the safety of my car and that felt like a good change.”
Her Awareness Skills Kept her Friends Safe
Things got ugly at a pre-college party for, Carly, one of our graduates. Another incoming freshman had been paying her unwanted attention all through the college tour. At a party that night he had “way too much to drink,” she explains.
“I didn’t even know him and he was acting like we were best friends. He kept trying to put his arm around me so I used my verbal skills to tell him I wasn’t interested. I had to get louder and louder with my ‘leave me alone’ boundary but he didn’t get it. After I intercepted his hug he asked me if I was a bitch. I said ‘yes I am so leave me alone.’ Instead he tried to kiss me so I did the Shark-bite pinch to his arm. He finally backed off and asked what was wrong with me so I screamed ‘I SAID NO!’ He left the party after that and some of the other girls thanked me since he’d been bothering them too. I feel lucky to have my IMPACT training and know I won’t be a freshman year statistic. I’m ready for any creeps that come my way. I am hoping to meet a nice guy though.”
Carly’s talking about the statistic that one in four college freshman will be sexually assaulted – usually by someone she knows. Way to set a great example for your new dorm-mates, Carly! Good luck in school!
We Are All Someone Else to Someone Else
I was showing some out-of-town guests the stars on Hollywood Boulevard when I noticed a sketchy guy slip out of an alley and start following us. I couldn’t put my finger on it but my neck hairs stood up. My intuition said something about him just wasn’t right.
He hovered closer and closer as my friends took pictures of the stars. As he crossed the line of safe distance I turned and said loudly to my friends “hold onto your purses.” That was all it took. He knew that I knew and he backed off.
I was proud my awareness skills kept us safe but also freaked that my friends hadn’t even noticed the potential danger. They’ll be in the next Basics class!
I took the Impact Kids class in fourth grade. I’m in sixth grade now and here’s my story. I go to an after school camp where if you are in sixth grade or up, a counselor will take us to a nearby Von’s to get snacks. At the Starbucks inside, I was in line ordering something for my friend (a decaf mocha frappuccino). The counselor was in another part of the store.
A strangely dressed lady came up to me and said, “I have a decaf mocha frappuccino in the car, come with me and I’ll get it for ya.” Man, everything I learned at Impact was passing through my head. I said, “No, thank you” because the instructors at Impact told me not to get involved with ANYTHING where a stranger asks you to come and get something. So I said, “No, thank you.” Then she said something like, “May the devil have your soul.” I wanted to say, “Jeez, I’m not stupid enough to come to your car,” but I remembered that Impact said to let them have the last word. So I ignored her and she walked away.
That was something you always expect to happen to someone else, but apparently we’re all someone else to someone else.
Prior to our class a graduate had been having problems with an ex-boyfriend showing up at her house and harassing her via text and email. She emailed that she finally felt she had the tools and confidence to stand up to him. When he showed up uninvited last week she was able to set a boundary with him telling him how inappropriate his continued attentions were. This started a conversation wherein she realized he thought they were still friends while she had lived in fear of him and felt he was stalking her. Now the communication between them is cleared up and she has the space and distance from him she needs for a comfortable life.
Remember The Magic Formula
I Enrolled in Self Defense and it Changed My Life
One of our graduates reported a simple success that made a huge difference for her life. A neighbor always asked to borrow her car and not wanting to be typecast as a bad neighbor, she’d always said yes even though it made her very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, he always returned the car with an empty gas tank. When it was clear that waiting for him to develop a sense of common decency wasn’t going to shift things for her she remembered the Magic Formula.
The next time he knocked on her door she said “I feel used and disrespected when you borrow my car and return it with no gas in the tank. Would you please either fill it up or not borrow it again?”
He hasn’t asked for her car since and she’s subsequently found out from other neighbors that he’s admitted to seeing how much he can get out of people for free before they catch on to his game. Needless to say, that’s a game our graduate won’t be playing now that she has boundary setting skills!
After seeing the Self Defense class, I was sold. I knew I had to attend Marlborough. I wanted to be that confident, strong girl achieving the unthinkable. Last year, I finally had my chance. I enrolled in Self Defense and it changed my life. Over the course of fourteen weeks, I learned the fundamentals of fighting with eye jabs, groin pulls, knees, elbows, and heel palms. At my Self Defense graduation, my “assailant” was that same towering, 6’2, 200-pound Goliath, but now I was the skinny sixteen-year-old girl. I thought back to when I first saw the class, so taken by the show of force and confidence in the tiny teenage girl. Now, receiving my diploma in front of my parents after delivering a smack down to a gigantic man, I realized I’d learned more than just a set of physical skills; I discovered within myself an inner strength and the courage to follow my intuition. Whether it’s not walking down an alley that feels wrong or choosing the right college, listening to that inner voice will guide me through life and keep me safe. Self Defense turned out to be a very apt name for that class. Not only did I learn to defend my physical self, but to pursue and defend a stronger and deeper sense of self.
It Only Took One Strike to Defend Myself
A student took our Women’s Basics course when her abusive ex-boyfriend came up for parole. Sure enough he tracked her down and surprised her coming out of her neighborhood grocery store. She dropped her bags and got into ready stance as he hurled threats at her. He stepped in expecting to hit her like he always had but got a face full of heel-palm instead. He dropped to the ground and a store security guard called the police for her. Our grad was shocked (and maybe a teensy bit disappointed) that it only took one strike to defend herself.
Dealing with a Crowd Groper
One student was at a concert when she was groped from behind in the crowd. She repeatedly told the man to leave her alone using her verbal strategies. When he continued to touch her against her will she elbowed him in the face, breaking his nose and resolving his inappropriate behavior.
Don't Mess with Me
Another student was walking from her car to her home when she was grabbed by the wrist by a man with a knife and pulled into a dark alley. She disarmed the man, broke his knee and took him to the ground. He was taken away in an ambulance.
Muscle Memory Works
A former student was at a party moving from the house to the yard. A guy she did not know called to her. When she ignored him, he grabbed her, threw her into the bushes and attempted to rape her. Her training kicked in and she fought him off. She ran back into the party where he angrily followed her and threw a beer on her for having thwarted the rape. He thus identified himself to the entire party as her assailant and was held while the police arrived.
Please contact us to share your story!