Exciting News! Paris Police Department is working with Safe Voices and Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services (SAPARS) to create self-defense class, with a focus on survivors of abuse. Empowerment-based self-defense training is an effective intervention for the prevention of violence, can increase feelings of self-efficacy and confidence, can reduce levels of depression and anxiety, and is protective against traumatic stress symptoms, thereby reducing the harm of violence as well as its prevalence.
Like other interventions developed from empowerment theory, this training challenges the prevailing cultural narrative of weak, passive victims and strong, invulnerable perpetrators and instead helps students to discover and maximize their own strengths.
The embodied empowerment it teaches can also be a powerful healing factor. ESD explicitly does not blame survivors for any violence they experience, instead it teaches individuals multiple options for confronting violence and affirms that defenders do the best they can with the tools they have at any given moment. Stay tuned as we work on developing this resource to empower victims of abuse!