Protect yourself with confidence.

Empower yourself in everyday life.

Take a workshop to gain practical skills to defend and assert yourself.

Want to be safer and more confident?

Defend Yourself empowers people — especially those targeted for gender-based violence — to protect themselves and create a world where they can be fully themselves.

We’ve trained 35,000+ students to defend and assert themselves. Take one of our workshops to learn skills to help you prevent, interrupt, heal from, and end harassment, abuse, and assault.

You’ll leave better equipped to deal with everything from annoying people to full-on attacks.

As seen on

An empowering, upbeat, and inclusive approach

to self-defense

You get more options

We don’t focus on how scary it is that violence happens, but rather on options we all have and ways we can take care of ourselves — including physical and verbal skills.

This isn’t martial arts

If you’re thinking, “I’m not sure I can do it,” you can stop! We’ve designed our classes so that no matter your abilities or fitness level, you can gain skills to make yourself safer.

All classes are survivor-centered

We understand trauma and honor whatever you did to get through.

It’s okay to put yourself first.

Harassment, abuse, and assault are the fault of the person who does them, so shouldn’t they be the ones to stop it?

The truth is, we need all the strategies to create a safe and respectful world — including that men, the primary aggressors, must lead the change.

But you shouldn’t shouldn’t have to wait around for other people (and systems) to change to be able to live a safer, more authentic life.

And studies show that learning Empowerment Self-Defense skills not only improves your safety — it also reduces anxiety and fear, and boosts your confidence.

From our students

“People say ‘boundaries’ all the time, but this is the first time that I really understood what that means.”


”This class was warm, welcoming, safe, empowering, and educational.”


“Defend Yourself training is really a comprehensive approach to protecting your whole self: body and mind. It covers not only physical tips to keep you safe but also how to defend against unwanted verbal and controlling behaviors. The trainers do an excellent job covering so many facets of self-defense for different identities that it truly is a joy to be in their classes.”


Workplace workshop organizer

“This class profoundly changed my life in large ways and small, in obvious ways and more subtle ways that I’m only now becoming aware of. From learning strategies to defend myself from street harassment and attacks to gaining skills to help me feel more confident in your body and mind that will help me better advocate for myself in friendships, relationships, at work, and—perhaps most profoundly—in my own discussions with my own worst fears and doubts, this class is a life-changer.”


“Self-defense, assertiveness training, and bystander intervention helped me to refine my voice, put my comfort levels first, and enable me to move more freely. Now, I give myself permission to speak up, I have plans of action, and feel confident to engage.”


Sign up for a class

Students at a DY workshop saying "no" and holding up their hands in the "stop" position

Resist: Skills for Stopping Harassment, Abuse, and Assault

In partnership with The Outrage

Have you been harassed at work (virtually or in person), on the street, or on public transit? Is a family member intrusive, either with words or physically? Is there anyone you want to set a limit with, but aren’t quite sure how to say it? Do you want to know what to do if you’re ever attacked? You’ll learn your options for these and other situations.

You’ll find the power in your body and mind to practice boundary-setting as the foundation of self-defense, and effective strikes as a last resort.

You’ll learn:

  • Understanding where risks lie (it’s probably not what you think!)
  • The 5 basic elements of assertiveness and boundary-setting
  • Simple physical strikes for the worst-case situation, and more!

Who: Open to everyone age 16 and up, registration required. Register via EventBrite.

What: 2.5 hours of interactive learning with practical exercises based on real-life situations

When: Sunday, Oct. 23, 9:30 am – 12 noon

Where: In person at The Outrage: 1811 14th Street NW, DC. Masks required.

How: Sliding scale; register via EventBrite.

Slots are limited, so register soon!

A teacher demonstrating at a workshop

Holidays with Family: Skills for Difficult Conversations

Soon, many of us will have to (or choose to) sit and break bread with someone who disrespects us – or with whom we strongly disagree. Some of us will even be sitting with someone who’s abused us.

Join us to learn coping strategies and skills to get through — or maybe even enjoy — your family time.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use assertiveness and boundary-setting to establish firm limits in a respectful way designed to avoid escalation.
  • 5 options for dealing with stressful situations that give you choices and help you feel your personal power.
  • 5 alternatives for managing a problematic dinner companion when you choose not to set limits.
  • 3 de-escalation techniques you can use if needed.

Who: Open to everyone age 16 and up, registration required.

What: 2.5 hours of interactive learning with practical exercises based on real-life situations

When: Saturday, Nov. 5, 2:30-5 pm Eastern

Where: Online via Zoom, so people from almost anywhere can join!

Fee: $65. Contact us if you can’t afford the full fee.

Slots are limited, so register soon!

Bring us to you

We run programs at workplaces, organizations, and for private groups. Learn more about how we can work with you.

Selected clients