Have you ever had to use it?

Here’s what Lauren Taylor, director of Defend Yourself, has to say:

When people find out about my work, one of their most common responses is a question: Have you ever had to use it?

My answer: Every day.

Every day I use the habits of self-confidence that I have learned and polished through self-defense training. Pretty much every day I set a limit, tell someone what I want, ask for something to be different, or negotiate a better outcome.

Many days I probably avoid a potentially dangerous situation. Virtually every day I interrupt bias, or harassment, or being patronized, or a put down. Every day I ask someone–with words or without–to treat me with respect.

Every day I move through the world with more confidence and less fear because I know self-defense and because it has taught me to value myself and claim my space. It allows me to take risks and be who I really am.

That’s not what the people who ask the question really want to know. They really want to know if I have ever hit someone who was trying to hurt me. The answer to that question is no.

Since I learned self-defense, I have run away from one armed attacker, evaded an unarmed one, and I have gotten potential attackers and abusers to back off using my words, and I haven’t had to hit anyone. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t used my self-defense!