Strategic Living's News & Views

Fall 2012

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Joanne Factor of Strategic LivingDear ,  

It is past time to turn off my TV and radio. Like many fellow Americans, I am suffering from PEFD (Pre-Election Fatigue Disorder), brought on by media over-coverage and simplification of every candidate's claims, counter-claims, and statistics. Among the claims launched this year, the ones on rape are most concerning to me, and to anyone concerned with women's safety.

We have this epidemic of adjectives. Legitimate rape, from Rep. Todd Akin. Honest rape, from Rep. Ron Paul. Forcible rape, from Rep. Paul Ryan. (I have to admit my "favorite" was not from a politician but from Whoopi Goldberg's 2009 defense of Roman Polanski, that what he did wasn't "rape rape.")

The simple definition of rape, according to my mini-Oxford dictionary, is "having sex with someone against their will." More exact definitions depend on your state law, where the specifics and degree of rape will vary. Nevertheless, it seems the very word "rape" comes loaded with the necessary connotations of force and legitimacy. Why add extra verbiage?

Several years ago I taught a weekend workshop for rape survivors. There were 14 women and teen girls in that class. All had reported their assaults. I asked them to raise their hands if their experience with law enforcement had been positive. Two hands. Then I asked for a show of hands if their experience had been negative. Fourteen hands (yes, that included the 2 who reported positive experiences).

Sexual assault survivors often suffer something far worse than PEFD -- they deal with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). What distinguishes those who end up with PTSD symptoms for "only" a few years versus those who suffer for decades is most often the secondary trauma. The primary cause of secondary trauma is when the survivor is doubted, subjected to ridicule, shamed, disbelieved, or disregarded, especially by those they thought should be helping. Including law enforcement officers. While the trauma of rape is bad, too often the trauma of the aftermath is worse, and can lead to longer-term distress and disability.

When you modify "rape" you are saying it's okay to further traumatize a survivor, under the guise of getting to the "truth." The survivor is judged first to make sure it is indeed a legitimate rape, or an honest rape, or even a forcible rape. Yes this does already happen a lot, but over my lifetime it has decreased in frequency. In some circles, it's even socially unacceptable. Modifiers make it  more acceptable to justify rapists and place another hurdle in front of survivors.

I will deal with PEFD. There are real epidemics out there.

Sincerely, Joanne

In The News . . . 

On Friday, August 17th, I was interviewed on KKNW 1150 AM by Carol Carini. Her show is Live Life and Look Good Doing It, a lifestyle program primarily for women over 40. It was refreshing to speak with someone in the media who focused on what women could do, rather than their opinion of what women should not do! And, towards the end, Carol shares an experience of hers and what she did to keep herself safe.

Please visit this link to listen to this interview (this is an mp3 file).

TED: The Psychopath Test and You

Jon Ronson is a journalist/humorist who puts in a very entertaining and engaging TED Talk. His topic is the vagary of the "psychopathy test," basically not a test but a checklist often used to decide if an individual is a real psychopath (or simply a jerk).  I recommend this video first for the live sound and animations, and second for Ronson's presentation. And you will learn more, not about psychopaths but more often about those who study them.

TED Talks will make you smarter. Or at least more thoughtful.
Recipe: Grilled Peaches

This is really simple. You can also use nectarines.

Make sure you have free-stone fruit, where the pit comes out easily when cut in half. Last night I used Red Haven peaches from the University Farmers' Market. Try to pick ripe peaches.

Cut each in half. Grill each half, cut-side down, for a couple of minutes. Then turn over and grill til juices are collecting in the pit-well. Let them cool down enough to handle, then slice the halves in a bowl, making sure to keep all that yummy juice.

Toss the peach slices with cherry vinegar (or some other dessert vinegar). This is a great dessert on its own, or with ice cream.

Our guest's review:  "Ambrosial!"


Class Schedule
Fall 2012:

Self-Defense 101:
 A five week course that builds progressive skill and prepares you for life's unexpected (and unwanted) moments.  To register for any of these classes, visit for links to each organization and class registration.
BEGINS NEXT WEEK: Five Monday evenings, starting Sept 10, 7:30 - 9:30 pm at Georgetown Arts and Cultural Center, 5809 Airport Way S.

Five Tuesday evenings, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, through the UW Women's Center (class held at the Bryants Building on Boat Street). Oct 9 - Nov 6.

Five Saturday afternoons, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's North Campus. Oct 13 - Nov 10.

Five Monday evenings, 7:00 - 8:50 pm, through Seattle Central Community College. Oct 15 - Nov 19 (no class Nov 12 in observance of Veterans' Day).


"Sunday" Seminars: This short self-defense basic class is offered in Seattle (usually on Sunday afternoons) on September 30, Oct 21, and Dec 9. It will also be offered at North Kirkland Community Center on Saturday Sept 22 (and, looking to Winter, Jan 19, 2013). 


For Teen Girls Only: There are no Fall offerings. The next one will be Satuday, January 12, 2013, at North Kirkland Community Center, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Visit the Strategic Living Teen Girl classes site for more info. Or contact me to arrange your own group class. 


Weekend Workshop through the UW Experimental College will be held Friday Nov 30, Sat Dec 1, and Sun Dec 2. Visit for more info and links to registration (note: registration not likely to open until the UW resumes classes).   


Will you be among this year's incoming freshmen at the UW? I will again (for about the 6th year) be offering a one-hour free class through Dawg Daze. Friday, Sept 21, 11 am til noon, at Savery 138. 


Self-defense skills are like CPR, you should review and practice them annually. 

If you've already taken a class and want to keep it fresh, Strategic Living offers a 50% discount on select classes. And, if you refer your friends to a Strategic Living class and they sign up, I will donate $25 to one of three awesome organizations for women and girls. Visit my Paying It Forward page for details.

Do you work with a non-profit or community organization that holds silent Self defense class -  striking practiceauctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for a private 1.5 hour seminar.

Do you work with a non-profit or community organization whose staff/volunteers/members/clients would benefit from a safety skills seminar? Visit for information on requesting partly subsidized training sessions. 

Hazelruth A, who works with teen girls in foster care, said this about the session she arranged:

"Strategic Living graciously donated class time to come to last month's event and it was amazing! Joanne did a wonderful job talking about tough issues in a way that was both approachable and fun. The girls had a great time and learned a lot! The donated class allowed the girls we work with to learn self-defense techniques and prevention skills--skills that will help them not only now but into their adult lives. I am incredibly thankful to Strategic Living since without the donated class the girls would not have had this wonderful and empowering opportunity.

"I think it is especially important for young women to have the know-how and the confidence to stand up for themselves in bad situations. The Strategic Living self-defense class helped give the young women in our program the skills and confidence to do just that. "

Contact Information
phone: 206.202.0748

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