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Campus Safety for College Women

Evaluate the safety and security of the places on campus and the quality and availability of resources to ensure safety. For example, find out about campus escort services often offered through campus security and student government programs.

Do not walk by yourself at night. Walk with a friend or use a campus escort service.

Report any violence that you see to orientation and awareness programs on campus. Help develop effective linkages between campus and community law enforcement personnel.

  • Do not let anyone into your dorm who looks like they don’t belong there.
  • Support a coordinated community response/ college initiative to prevent violence against women.
  • Provide a voice for women on campus. Start a support group and/or victim advocacy group on campus.
  • Take a self-defense course.

Define or Destroy Your Character, In ‘Less Than 140 Characters

Perusing through my timeline, I tether on the line of amazement and amusement.  One “friend” posts:

“Amazing how my life changed when I finally let God give me the love I was searching for. *tear*”

While another posts:

“I think im bout to go to sleep if ion find a move! Im sleepy and not hittin the lotto fucked my mood up!”

Which raises the question, Who am I allowing in my social network?  Nearing 40 years old, I realize I have created multiple networks over those years.  Am I holding on to past relationships which should remain there; in my past? How many of these hundreds/thousands of people do I really know? Why do I share intimate details of my life with people I don’t know?

Although mind boggling, I have determined in my assessment; it is not conducive to a safe lifestyle for my family or I. Shopping in the grocery store, I’ve been approached by people like… “Cole!!! How are you?  How are Vanessa and the children? The little one is getting so BIG!”

My dumbfounded stare gives away my naivety until they say, “I’m sorry, I am (insert name) and I am your friend on Facebook.  I also follow you on Twitter.”

Whoa! Are you serious?  I have never seen this person in my entire life and they almost KNOW me. The day I had that feeling was the day I realized how we subject ourselves to attack and scrutiny daily.

As a co-owner of a business which teaches women self-defense, I began researching how social, social networking has become.  It was in these findings, I decided to share with you how easy you can “Define or Destroy Your Character, In Less Than 140 Characters.

Before we enter the crux of the matter, the surface is simple.  Social networking is a cesspool for identity theft and cyber sexual predators.  I cannot emphasize enough the dangers of social networking if not performed correctly.  There are people who want to know your every move and you are giving it to them play-by-play.

Social sites such as FourSquare, Twitter, Yelp, etc. gives you the option of utilizing a global positioning system (GPS) to “check-in” where you are.  This makes me cringe every time I hear of a woman candidly handing over pertinent information to their location.  You have the possibility of inviting unwanted company as well as telling the world… “No one is at my house, go rob it!”

Be careful!  There are so many ways to injure yourself on these sites.  Yet, there are simple things you could change to be protected.   Here is a checklist of NO MOs:

  • No Mo “countdowns” to going on vacation.

Your countdown to vacation is a criminal’s countdown to burglary. Saying when, where and how long gives a could-be criminal, all the information they need.

  • No Mo “check-ins” giving away my current location.

Better to do it on way out of door! Saying where you are gives potential stalkers a tool to track and find you.  It also gives an open invitation to an empty residence.

  • No Mo “celebrating” birthdays of my children with pictures and names.

Please understand that putting your children’s names with pictures and ages give child predators an upper hand.  In addition, NEVER put the name of the school your child attends.

  • No Mo “ignoring” the privacy setting changes.

It took me getting an Android phone to realize how much information is “synced” without request or regards for personal privacy.  If I had someone’s phone number, it showed their photo in my contents, other numbers and linked their Facebook profile.  Not safe!

For those of you who “never “post personal information, take the time to read the following blog posts:

Social Media Horror Stories: Top 5 ways to lose your job via social media. by Tonya Nelson

Five Scary Social Media Horror Stories by Angela West, PC World

Social Media Changed My Life by Danielle Liss

My life changed this week. And I owe it all to social media. by Brian Remmel

More safety tips at www.divasindefense.com

Real Women/Real Sexy: Divas In Defense

Superhero: a fictional hero having extraordinary or superhuman powers; also : an exceptionally skillful or successful person

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/superhero

I love superheroes! Being a mom of two boys, superheroes are a big part of my everyday conversations with them. I want to share with you one of my favorite superhero stories. This story, however, is not about a fictional character, but a mother who did an extraordinary thing in a frightening circumstance.

When I lived in San Francisco in the mid 90’s there was a news story that caught my attention and has stuck with me all these years.
A young mother parked her car on the street while she did some shopping. She returned to her car, unlocked her steering wheel lock (The Club), put her child in the back seat and started her car. She still had the club in her hand as she was coming around the car from the passenger’s side, where she had placed her shopping bags, when a man jumped behind the wheel and slammed the car door in her face so he could drive off, stealing her car and the frightened child in the back seat. The mother, without a moments hesitation, wrapped her hand around the door inside the car (the window was down) and as the driver drug her down the street she proceeded to hit him with all her might with The Club she still gripped in her hand. In the process she broke his jaw, crushed his cheekbone and fractured his left arm! The driver stopped the car, crawled out onto the street and begged her to stop! He lay there in the street bleeding and broken until police arrived.
That, my friends, is what I call a superhero!!

I’ve always hoped that in a circumstance where I might find myself or those I love in danger I too would be able to “Fight Like A Girl” and kick some ass if I had to.

There are some frightening statistics out there about crime and violence against women and children that speak to why all of us should be prepared to defend or protect ourselves if we ever needed to.

In 2005, 1,181 women were murdered by an intimate partner. That’s an average of three women every day. Of all the women murdered in the U.S., about one-third were killed by an intimate partner.

4.8 million intimate partner-related physical assaults and rapes every year.

232,960 women in the U.S. were raped or sexually assaulted in 2006.

Every 2 minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.

Statistics taken from http://www.now.org/issues/violence/stats.html

These are staggering and scary statistics! Every woman should be skilled in a few basic techniques that would give her a fighting chance, or if nothing else the opportunity to flee a life threatening situation.
Let me introduce you to the man that can show you how to be Fierce and Fabulous!

Cole Parker is the co-founder of Divas In Defense, a self defense system that is geared toward women and girls. In this episode we were invited by our friend, musical artist, Zoe Myers to attend a Divas In Defense class with Cole and learn how to Fight Like A Girl!

 
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Post courtesy of Angel Maynard. Original post can be found here.

Enough of fear! L&D nurse gives back, empowering women to be safe and fear-free. (open access)

As a young child, I spent a lot of time homeless or living in the seedy parts of town. Many nights were spent in fear. One night, I awoke to the sounds of a man banging on the door, yelling obscenities and threatening to kill us all. I was about 10 years old, and we were living in a very poor part of town. We had no phone and no way out, except for the door the inebriated man was banging on. My mother handed me a hammer and told me that, if the man got through the door, I was to use it to break the bedroom window, grab my sister and jump. Our one-bedroom apartment was on the second floor.

I will never forget the fear in my mother’s eyes as she held our only source of protection—a kitchen knife. Thank goodness, the door was strong and, once daylight broke, the intruder left.

Memory of the fear and struggles my mother encountered in her daily life inspired me to become a nurse. I knew I could make a real difference to people in need and give back to my community in so many different ways. As a nurse, I would be able to provide compassionate care in a medical setting.

Women’s health has always been my passion, and that is why I chose to be a labor and delivery nurse. In my maternal-child nursing role, I became even more aware of the many women who find themselves in violent or abusive situations, who feel not only helpless, but also unworthy of a safe and fear-free life.

During a visit with my sister, she signed us up for a class offered by Divas in Defense, a program that builds self-esteem in women and provides them with the physical and mental tools they need to ensure their environment is safe. The class taught me to be more attentive to my surroundings and, after completing it, I felt more empowered to move safely through my world. I decided I wanted to share what I had experienced with others and, if possible, to have the program included among the many opportunities offered for women at Central Baptist Hospital.

To accomplish that goal, I knew I had to be proactive and get my nursing peers on board to support me in presenting my idea to Karen Hill, chief operating officer and nurse executive at Central Baptist. In the process, I learned to be persistent and extend myself beyond my comfort zone.

Starting a program from scratch isn’t easy and can be intimidating when you need institutional buy-in. I had a clear purpose, however, and was passionate about the subject, which was a good place to start. I knew I wanted to make the project a team effort, so I spent time compiling a vision statement and made a poster detailing my plans for peers to review and critique.

To test my idea, I made a series of small presentations on my unit and offered people the opportunity to sign a petition requesting that Central Baptist Hospital sponsor the first community Divas in Defense program in our state. Because a staff member in the surgical services department had been the victim of domestic violence, awareness within the hospital of the need for such a program was palpable. More than 100 people signed the petition, which I presented to Hill.

Having gained the confidence and support of my unit and co-workers, I needed to make sure the business side of my proposal was ready for presentation to the hospital’s administrators. Working through the business side of establishing the program at Central Baptist was challenging, and I learned a lot about business plans.

I also learned about the many questions that have to be answered and the things that need to be explored before finalizing a program proposal that requires resources. I came to realize that, although I had a great idea, I had to be willing to slow down my timeline to research the details and think about the “what if.” Hill helped by answering my questions, and she also made sure I asked all the right questions of the program sponsors in Atlanta. This pre-program preparation enabled me to do my best in presenting my idea, with Hill, to the hospital’s director of community education. As chief nursing officer, Hill gave me ongoing support and the opportunity to give a concise, detailed presentation outlining the resources that would be needed.

My hard work paid off, and the project was approved. The hospital sponsored Renee Phillips, RN, also a labor and delivery nurse, and me to attend certification training in Atlanta and to bring the program back to our employees and community. Prior to this, Divas in Defense had not expanded beyond Atlanta, Georgia, and we were thus among the first instructors certified outside the Atlanta area. Our community education department made space available and helped notify others about the offering. We also presented the process and outcomes at the hospital’s annual Evidence-Based Practice Symposium.

As a staff nurse and patient advocate, I am amazed to have accomplished something so dear to my heart. With the establishment of Divas in Defense at Central Baptist Hospital, I now have the opportunity to provide care both physically and emotionally to women. I feel so blessed to work as a nurse. I am able to touch lives, and my life is touched daily by the women I care for and by my co-workers. My mother is very proud of me, as I am of her. RNL

Kim McGinnis, BSD, RN, is a labor and delivery nurse at Central Baptist Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, USA. Karen S. Hill, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, is chief operating officer and nurse executive at Central Baptist. She also serves as editor-in-chief of JONA, the Journal of Nursing Administration.

Post courtesy of Reflections of Nursing Leadership. Original post found here.

Celebrity bodyguard Chris Britto empowers women to defend and conquer

You can tell from his vice-like handshake that Christopher Britto is probably a man you don’t want to mess with — and that goes for his mission to empower women of all ages to learn the art of self-defense and find their inner diva.

A Chicago native transplanted to Long Beach, in just three years Britto and his Atlanta-based brother Cole D. Parker, have turned their women’s self-protection business, Divas in Defense, into a national brand with 10 DID franchises in four states.

If his face is at all familiar, Britto, the 28-year-old company president and CEO, has 12 years of experience in the upper echelons of celebrity protection guarding the likes of John Travolta, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Omarion.

The training program offers certified instruction in self-defense, non-lethal weapons training, and firearm safety training.

Divas also have a program called Girls Can Fight Too, for 7 to 17 year olds where they teach about personal safety, dating violence, social media etiquette and communication.

“It’s all about saving lives, not winning a fight,” said Britto, on the company’s philosophy. “I have expertise in personal protection and Cole wrestled and boxed in college. We wanted to put together a scenario based curriculum that was straight to the point; if he did this, you did that.”

He added: “The first line of defense is about awareness and the one rule is to get away. In instances like sexual assault and rape, most attacks happen with people that they know.

“So we train clients about awareness; remembering where you parked, not talking on your cell phone when your walking down the street or if you’re jogging in the morning, don’t have your iPod in your ear.”

Britto’s other key tip is that even if you are attacked to put up a fight.

“The chances of you walking away are a lot higher,” he continued. “A perpetrator will go for someone they feel they can overpower, and if you fight back that makes them think, ‘I thought this was gonna be easy, maybe I should get out of here.’”

Unbeknownst to Britto at the time, the seeds to Divas was sown back when he and Parker were siblings being raised by a their single mother, who herself was a victim of molestation and domestic violence.

When Britto’s daughter was born three years ago he wanted to be on the road less and home more, and attending church one weekend the female pastor asked him if he could come and teach a class on self-defense.

After thinking about it for a moment, he tapped his brother, who is a well-known marketing guru in Atlanta, for a name for the class.

“He’s 10 years older than me, and at that point he told me that our mother was a survivor of domestic violence. I was like ‘what are you talking about?’ And he said yes, that really happened. He said ‘I think you should call it Divas in Defense.’ I said that’s catchy, and he replied that if you start it in Los Angeles then I’ll start it in Georgia and we can work on a curriculum together.”

So Britto went from pondering the proposal on a Monday to researching stun gun equipment on a Wednesday, then a celebrity connection put the concept on the map before they had even put together their first class.

“I play in a celebrity football league with Speedy, the presenter on Jamie Foxx’s radio show. He interviewed me and we immediately got phone calls about where people could attend classes,” he recalled.

“Then I flew Cole into L.A. for a Grammy Gifting Suite party and our classes were the hottest attraction in the room. Right then we knew we were onto something and we weren’t going to be doing anything else.”

However, as they expand Britto is also keen to give back.

For instance, next month DID will be taking part in Denim Day, where women don Jeans to protest about the Italian judge who freed a rape suspect saying the victim was partly to blame because she was wearing tight jeans.ris

Surviving The Scars

I had never considered myself a survivor but if I look back I have survived my whole life. I was molested by my step dad from the time I was 7yrs old till I told someone when I was 11, it was such a different time back then, I never received counseling and never spoke to anyone about it not even my mom it was not talked about in our house ever. I grew up very distrustful of men, till this day I tend to feel like I’m going to freak out if someone I don’t know simply touches my arm but I deal with it. When I was young I became a bit rebellious and my mom let my biological father come around and they would both say things like, that I was a liar and what I had said probably never happened because I was nothing but a piece of scum.

My teenage years were some of the loneliest years of my life. I turned to drugs to numb me of all of it, my drug was meth. My mom made it clear I was not welcome in her home I was 14yrs old so I was on the street. I would sleep where ever I could find a place, sometimes in an abandoned apartment or under some stairs at building to keep from getting wet from the rain. As I walked the streets I would see girls my age going to prom, going to school and I so wanted that for myself, I wanted to be normal I had felt abnormal and out of place almost my whole life, by then I was 16yrs old, I had been on the street for 2yrs. I had a friend who was much older than me and she took me home and helped me get clean which to me was amazing because she was a using as well.

The detox was horrendous I felt I was going to die! But I didn’t and I was determined to have a normal life it’s all I wanted. I went home and enrolled myself back in school and started taking ROP, I started beauty school. I had absolutely no support my moms boyfriend didn’t like my brother and I and let us know every chance he got but I didn’t care. I would an hour to school everyday as they both drove past me.

It was during this time a friend asked if she could fix me up. After a few months of fighting her off I finally agreed and went on a date w him. He was so nice and very different from anyone I had ever dated but then again I hadn’t dated much. Life at home was the same…awful and one day I had a huge fight w my mom and I moved out. I went to a friends house and my new beau came to see me. He said I could stay w him if I wanted to. I was flattered and very happy, I had never had anyone actually want me around so I went. I was very happy I was finally given a chance at a normal life so I did normal things, I cooked and cleaned, did laundry. Being 17 I didn’t see there was nothing normal about a man who didn’t want me to work or go to school. Soon his temper was starting to show, it was a bad temper and the first time he struck me I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t have anyone to call or anywhere to go but he apologized and to me that was big, no one had ever apologized for hurting me ever, to me it showed he loved me and I believed him when he said he would never do it again. It went on for many years even through my pregnancy w my son who is now 15yrs old.

At the time he was 1yr old when I had enough and decided to leave, it would be 1 of many times…he would threaten to kill himself sometimes and other times he would get in 1 last beating and would hunt me down and stalk me after to get me to come back, as stupid as it sounds I would go back. I know now it was because I saw his actions after as a sign of his love for me, something I had been searching for my whole life if only I could just fix his problem?. I finally realized I couldn’t fix him if he didn’t want to be fixed and I didn’t want to be beaten in front of my child because he would grow up thinking this was ok, that it was normal. I knew it wasn’t normal and all that normality I had searched for my whole life was up to me to attain, not for myself but for my child, I didn’t care if I had normality for myself but I didn’t want my child to miss out, my choices determined his future. I had survived being molested and I survived drug addiction and now I had to choose to survive domestic violence and I did.

I am married w 2 kids, my husband is a wonderful man and my kids have the normal life I so longed for as a young girl, I may not of been able to attain that for myself at that age but I have a normal life now as a grown woman. It’s never to late to move on from where you are to where your supposed to be and no one is supposed to be in a horrible place of hurt and pain. You are valuable to someone whether it’s your children, your parents, your brothers or sisters, those are the people who love you the way you should love yourself and if you have no one there people like myself who are willing to share our story in the hopes you will pick yourself up and keep from being a forgotten statistic 😉

Divas In Defense Receives 2011 Best of Atlanta Award

U.S. Commerce Association’s Award Plaque Honors the Achievement

NEW YORK, NY, October 21, 2011 — Divas In Defense has been selected for the 2011 Best of Atlanta Award in the Martial Arts Training category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2011 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

About U.S. Commerce Association (USCA)

U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

The USCA was established to recognize the best of local businesses in their community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations, chambers of commerce and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to be an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America.

SOURCE: U.S. Commerce Association

CONTACT:
U.S. Commerce Association
Email:
URL: http://www.uscaaward.com

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