“I really get my energy from my students! They face so much oppression yet they energetically seek ways to empower themselves and transform the world,” said Lauren Taylor, director of Defend Yourself. “The Funemployed: Lauren Taylor,” DC Funemployment.
“I think people are realizing they need to step up,” said Lauren Taylor. “They want to be more proactive, and feel like they want to do something and they’re not sure what that is. “Ahead of Trump inauguration, this group trains bystanders to stand up to hate,” The Washington Post.
The “reality of violence is that for women and girls, the vast majority of attacks are by people we know,” said Lauren Taylor. “Crime uptick in and near Capitol Hill drives some to learn self-defense skills,” The Washington Post.
“Take your hand off of me!” Farah Fosse yelled as Lauren Taylor’s advances made a scene at BeBar. “Self-Defense Class for GLBT Community Lands at BeBar,” Metro Weekly
Lauren Taylor and Tamara Maze Gallman, founder and chief executive of Disability Partnerships, demonstrated self-defense techniques for wheelchair users at the NBC4 Health & Fitness Expo.
Lauren Taylor chats with Stevie Bridgwaters on CBS about Defend Yourself and empowerment self-defense. And, at 6:51, “I want to make change in this world. I believe that if we’re safer, all kinds of other things happen…[lack of] safety can hold us back from everything. If all of those changes happen, people live fuller and more authentic lives and what I get to do, which is such a gift, is that I get to be in a room with a bunch of people and they are different when they walk out than when they walk in…I call it instant social justice, just add water and stir.”
The only thing necessary for a rape to happen is the presence of a rapist. Lauren Taylor and Jessica Raven, executive director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces, speak out on alcohol and sexual assault. “Without alcohol, we’d still have rape,” The Washington Post.
“I think anything you do is okay as long as you make a conscious choice about it. I think if you start down the road of I can’t do this, I can’t do that, I have to wear shoes I can run in…you can end up locking yourself up in your apartment and never having a friend or a partner, and never seeing anybody, and yeah you’d be safe, but what kind of life would you have?” Do It! With Justin: Best Defense, MetroWeekly
Somewhere between one and four and one and three women is sexually assaulted, between one and three and one and four is in an abusive relationship. And I would say close to 100% are targeted for street harassment or harassment in the workplace…so it affects every women’s life. “Defend Yourself Empowers Women,” video by Noorjahan Akbar
One organization that is challenging the rules is Defend Yourself, a Washington, DC group that provides comprehensive self-defense classes to the community. Defend Yourself is helping to rewrite the narrative of sexual assault by advocating for empowerment, choice and confidence. “Defend Yourself,” Examiner
“The message of street harassment is that public spaces belong to straight men,” said Lauren Taylor. “D.C. Council holds roundtable on street harassment,” The Washington Post. View her testimony here.
“I believe that every issue that gets us closer to justice and equality is important, and for me, you have to start with the body,” says the group’s founder, Lauren Taylor. “If you can’t feel safe in your own body, it’s hard to move forward with anything else.” “Five Self-Defense Moves You Can Practice at Home,” Washingtonian
The black high heel Vanessa Schutz is holding suddenly looks pretty menacing. “Temple! Throat!” she shouts, aiming at the air. “Defend Yourself Workshops Teach Rape Prevention,” DCist
Taylor, who has over 25 years of experience teaching self-defense, offers some tips for bystanders who find themselves witnesses to harassment or assault, and want to do something about it. “How Bystanders Can Help Groping Victims,” Washington City Paper
I took a self-defense class because a friend told me it was good and because I was going traveling by myself. I found it so life-changing that I had to do more, learn more, and eventually, share what I learned. “Interview with Lauren Taylor,” HollaBack! DC
Lindsay Conn believes the course made her aware of an internal power she didn’t know existed. “That came as a surprise and changed my life around,” she says.”Jab Training: Self-defense classes teach safety and esteem,” Washington Post Express
Empowerment self-defense does more than help individual women fight off rape attempts: It changes the world, individually and collectively — and ultimately, systemically. “Lauren Taylor and Empowerment Based Self-Defense,” Girls Fight Back
For May Day 2019, WPFW-FM asked Safe Bars director Lauren Taylor to host a show on sexual harassment in the restaurant industry: “Sexual Harassment in the Bar and Restaurant Industries.” She was joined by bartender Lauren Paylor, Ramya Sekaran of the National Women’s Law Center, LaNysha Adams, a Safe Bars board member, and Eliza Loehr, of the Food Education Fund. Thanks to Katea Stitt and Jamila Bey for the support!
“There was a huge surge after the election,” said Lauren Taylor, co-director, Safe Bars. “Women felt unsafe and upset. It was a breaking point.” “Can the Cocktail Industry Fix Its Sexual-Assault Problem?” Grub Street, 4/16
During our Safe Bars training, “we have a conversation about race and the ways that race and religion and ethnicity may affect the different ways communities experience harassment,” said Jessica Raven, co-director, Safe Bars. “D.C. exhibit, businesses draw awareness to public harassment,” The GW Hatchet, 1/17
Lauren Taylor and Jessica Raven train bar staff in the DC-area to detect unwanted sexual aggression. “These Bartenders are Fighting Sexual Harassment,” MicMedia, 1/17
“It’s amazing how much more aware I am now,” said Dante Datta, bartender. “DC Bartenders Train to Spot and Prevent Sexual Assault,” NBC4 Washington, 12/16
“It’s just an amazing step in the right direction towards completely transforming bar culture in D.C. I have high hopes for 2017,” said Jessica Raven. “Safe Bars Meets Goal of Training 20 Bars in 2016,” Dcist, 12/16
“What they’re doing is specific skills. That’s why that training is so important. It’s not just like: ‘this is sexual assault. Here’s a cheesy 70s video.’ It’s like: ‘let’s role-play. If this happens, you do this. These are your strategies.’ It’s recipes, not philosophy,” said Angie Salame Fetherston, CEO, Drinks Co. “These Bars Are Training Their Staffs to Step In and Stop Hate Crimes,” Tales of the Cocktail, 11/16
“The cost of stepping in, and checking if somethings okay, is close to zero. The cost of not checking, when you think something might not be okay, can be incredibly high,” said Lauren Taylor. “50% of Sexual Assaults Involve the Use of Alcohol,” Upworthy, 9/16
“This is our house. People are guests in our house, but there are rules here,” said JP Fetherston, head bartender, Columbia Room. “Behind the Bar, In Front Of the Curve: Safe Bars Trains To Stop Sexual Harassment,” DCist, 8/16
Lauren Taylor, Jessica Raven, and Angie Fetherston, CEO of Drink Company, chatted with WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi about spotting signs of sexual harassment in bars and doing something. “Training Bar Staff and Bystanders To Prevent Sexual Assault,” The Kojo Nnamdi Show, 7/16
The concept is so simple and powerful that it’s hard to believe that a program like this wasn’t put into place years ago. “This Brilliant New Program Helps Bartenders Put A Stop to Sexual Assault,” Self, 7/16
Bystander intervention is one of the most effective ways to stop someone from becoming a victim. That’s what makes Safe Bars so important. “Bars Are Trying Something New To Help Stop Sexual Assault, And It’s Actually Pretty Simple,” A Plus, 7/16
Safe Bars training helped two bartenders know what to do to help one woman avoid a possible assault. “Bartenders in DC are Learning How to Stop Sexual Assault, and So Far, it’s Working,” Upworthy, 7/16
Lauren Taylor and Jessica Raven got a grant from Raliance for Safe Bars, where they train bar staff on how to intervene to stop sexual harassment. “Bars Are Learning How To Stop Sexual Assault, And The NFL Is Helping,” Huffington Post, 7/16
Defend Yourself and Collective Action for Safe Spaces have been collaborating for two years on Safe Bars. “Safe Bars Brings Sexual Harassment Intervention Training to D.C. Nightlife,” The GW Hatchet, 5/16
Tithe one thing that’s stayed the same is the amount of harassment in bars,” she says. “As bartenders, we see and hear a lot of shit.”Ally Farouidi, cofounder, Sudhouse. “Sexual Harassment in Bars Is Pervasive, But a New Project Offers Help,” DCist, 5/16
“It’s just hard to do, for a lot of people, but what you actually need to say or do is not rocket science,” Lauren Taylor said. “Step Up in the Club,” Slate, 4/14
“What we’re talking about is changing rape culture,” Lauren Taylor said. “Seeking Solutions For Sexual Aggression Against Women In Bars,” NPR, 3/14
National Street Harassment Hotline
Stop Street Harassment launched a national bilingual hotline with Defend Yourself and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). “Finding Help After Street Harassment is Now Just a Call Away,” Revelist
Latinas report experiencing higher rates of street harassment than other racial groups. “This New Street Harassment Hotline Offers Free Support in English and Spanish 24/7,” Latina