The Empowerment Self-Defense Alliance works to leverage the collective impact
of empowerment self-defense practitioners and influence national dialogue about
preventing interpersonal violence. ESDA positions empowerment self-defense as a
powerful means of personal and social change with a robust and growing research base demonstrating its efficacy. ESDA foregrounds survivors’ agency, awareness of the
neuro-biological factors surrounding trauma, and a commitment to social justice
as fundamental components of violence prevention.
WHAT IS ESD?
Empowerment self-defense teaches practical skills to those targeted for gender-based violence – primarily women and LGBTQ+ people. The skills work for avoiding, interrupting, responding to, and healing from the effects of interpersonal violence.
We teach those skills in the context of rape culture, addressing the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and socio-cultural components of standing up for yourself and others.
ESD is grounded in an understanding of social inequality and social justice, and addresses the whole spectrum of gender-based violence, from harassment to attack, from micro-aggressions to trafficking. More->
THE EVIDENCE BASE
A number of studies have found evidence that self-defense training, specifically, may decrease a woman’s chances of experiencing future sexual victimization as compared with women without training; and that forceful verbal and physical resistance and fleeing (all taught and practiced in ESD) have a proven association with rape avoidance in both reported and unreported crimes... More ->
WHAT WE'VE DONE
What we've done
See some of ESDA's accomplishments in these categories:
Writing and publishing on ESD and gender-based violence
Advocacy + coalition work
Coverage and media appearances
Click here for much more.
WHO WE ARE
ESDA is a diverse collaboration of empowerment self-defense practitioners and thought leaders. Our group includes domestic and sexual violence service providers, academics, trainers, writers, activists, social workers, and survivors.
Our founders: front row: Alena Schaim, Meg Stone, Brenda Jones, Martha Thompson, Anne Kuzminsky; back row: Yuko Uchikawa, George (Susan) Schorn, Clara Porter, Carmel Drewes, Lauren Taylor, Lynne Marie Wanamaker; center: Darlene DeFour. To find a list of empowerment self-defense practitioners, see below.
FIND A PRACTITIONER
To find an Empowerment Self-Defense practitioner in the U..S. or around the world, click here.
We'd love to hear from you! You can also email us directly at
You can also find us on Facebook