Equip your group with skills to protect themselves and others

Host empowerment self-defense, active bystander, or de-escalation workshops for your workplace, school, or community group.

A group of students showing off their self-defense techniques at a workshop

Selected clients

Department of State United States of America
Girl Scouts
Library of Congress
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
League of Conservation Voters
US Department of the Interior

Increase safety and support for your team or members

Talking about harassment, abuse, and assault can be uncomfortable. Defend Yourself can make these necessary conversations positive and productive.

Bring your team or members together in a supportive environment

Defend Yourself offers customized workshops and courses so your group members can learn skills in a safe and productive environment.

Your group will gain practical skills to protect themselves and others in situations from annoying or uncomfortable — to actually dangerous. Skills that can help them prevent, interrupt, and heal from harassment and worse.

Lauren teaching a woman in a wheelchair self-defense techniques

Defend Yourself’s approach is positive, empowering, and upbeat. We don’t focus on how scary it is that harassment, abuse, and assault happen, but rather on options we all have and ways we can take care of ourselves — and each other.

By coming together to learn these skills, your group will be better equipped to support one another and themselves day to day and in challenging situations.

They’ll also be able to build healthier, safer relationships — and a healthier and safer environment — at your organization and beyond.


Empowerment Self-Defense and active bystander trainings have many benefits, including: 

  • More connected, more resilient teams
  • Less fear, more engagement
  • Less harassment, especially in workplace and community settings
  • Clearer, more direct communication skills
  • Higher productivity, less turnover
  • Safer and more respectful workplaces, which supports diversity and equity efforts.

We can make recommendations to your organization on tangible actions you can take to create a safer, more respectful workplace, community organization, school, or faith group.

We work with workplaces, community and faith groups, schools, and private groups.

If you have a group of people, we can customize a training to improve everyone’s safety and well-being


  • D.C. Public Libraries
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Library of Congress
  • Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
  • Mary’s Center
  • U.S. Interior Department
  • U.S. State Department
  • Humanity and Inclusion
  • Center for Fiction
  • City of Walnut Creek, Calif.
  • Rainier Valley Food Bank
  • Danspace Project
  • Discovery Communication

Community and faith groups

  • D.C. Anti-Violence Project/The D.C. Center for the LGBT Community
  • Disability Partnerships
  • Generation Hope
  • Girl Scout troops (lots!)
  • Islamic Center of Maryland
  • Jack and Jill of America
  • ScholarChips
  • Washington Ethical Society
  • Willow Street Yoga
  • D.C. Rape Crisis Center
  • Unitarian Universalist Ministers of the DC Area 


  • Holton-Arms School
  • DC Intl. Public Charter School
  • RespectFest (Montgomery County, Md., public schools)
  • Sidwell Friends School
  • National Cathedral School
  • Oneness Family School
  • Princeton Day School
  • Sandy Spring Friends School
  • Capitol City Public Charter School
  • Center City Public Charter School
  • Cesar Chavez Public Charter School

College, university, and adult education

  • American Association of University Women/National Conference of College Women Student Leaders
  • Carlos Rosario International School
  • Georgetown University
  • Marymount University
A group of students practicing at a workshop

Give your group members practical tools and options

We offer one-off workshops and multi-session courses tailored to the needs of your organization. Here are some of the skills your group can learn with us:

A teacher demonstrating at a workshop

Increase personal safety with Empowerment Self-Defense

If you’d like your members to be ready to respond with confidence if they ever face an uncomfortable or unsafe situation, our Empowerment Self-Defense workshops are the answer.

Participants learn skills to protect themselves in the face of harassment, abuse, and assault. They’ll learn both verbal and physical strategies to prevent and interrupt violence before it escalates. We practice these skills in everyday scenarios such as on the street and at work, school, or home. 

Participants leave with confidence and a variety of techniques they can use right away.

A woman seen from behind, holding her hands in front of her to indicate "stop"

Learn to stand up for others and interrupt hate with active bystander skills

When witnessing hate — everything from harassment and other microaggressions to a full-on attack — most people want to do the right thing. Often they don’t know how to respond. With skills and practice, everyone can help create safer and more respectful groups and communities. 

In this program, participants learn how to tell if someone is being harassed, how to bring the temperature down, and options for intervening safely. 

Your group members will leave with a deeper understanding of when and how to be an active bystander, along with a variety of techniques they can use in the moment.

A teacher demonstrating at a workshop

Gain skills for bringing the temperature down with a de-escalation workshop

For workplaces and community-service groups, Defend Yourself offers training in de-escalation skills. 

Those who deal with the public have seen an increase in the number of problematic customers/clients/patients during the pandemic. 

De-escalation training equips participants with skills for dealing with people who are angry, escalated, refuse to wear a mask, unpredictable, or otherwise creating problems for public-facing staff or volunteers. 

In this program, participants learn:

  • when to choose to de-escalate, 
  • 5 steps to effectively de-escalate, 
  • the assertive alternative, 
  • working with the fight-flight-freeze response, 
  • organizational strategies, 
  • and more. 

“Thank you so much for working with us to make the self-defense workshop such a success! We heard nothing but great things from the participants and there are quite a few who would be interested in forming a group to do a longer series. I truly appreciate your willingness to work with us and was blown away by the workshop itself. It was impactful and empowering. I would love to partner again in the very near future.”

Adriana Moore

Femme Fatale

“Thank you so much for a great empowerment class for our Brownie troop. I’m with some of the kids this afternoon and they shared that they have used some of the verbal tools they learned in the workshop yesterday and today during recess. You all are amazing and I’m so glad you are doing this work — it’s so important for our girls.”

Girl Scout troop leader

Send us a message to get started

We’ll talk through your options and see how we can tailor our programs to fit the needs of your organization. 

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