Healing Groups for Survivors of Violence (for women and trans people)

Prevention. Action. Change. co-facilitates support groups for survivors of violence using Empowerment Self Defense Techniques. With an emphasis on choice and control, participants explore grounding, safety, boundaries, and communication.

Learn to observe and honor your own responses and preferences as felt in the body and develop practices to identify and express what you want, need, and feel in your own life.

Empowerment Self Defense as a Healing Modality

Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) is a unique form of self-defense developed over the last 40 years by feminist practitioners worldwide. Empowerment Self Defense:

  • Rejects victim-blaming.
  • Debunks “stranger-danger” myths.
  • Examines gender socialization.
  • Teaches awareness & verbal skills.
  • Teaches accessible physical defense skills.
  • Encourages healing and community organizing.

ESD contributes to healing by:

  • Creating an environment that is explicitly safe. 
  • Giving participants opportunities to make active choices and express personal boundaries which are respected by others.
  • Teaching new responses to use in stressful situations (active coping).
  • Using mind/body techniques to become more aware of the body’s signals (interoceptive awareness).
  • Providing an opportunity to learn and practice personal safety skills, such as becoming more aware of danger cues and using active responses.
  • Offering safe and comforting experiences of working with others (social connection).

Research demonstrates that training in ESD lowers rates of victimization and re-victimization, decreases self-blame and victim-blaming, and increases feelings of self-efficacy and the tendency to seek help (Sanquist et al. 2014, Hollander, J. A. 2014).