Strategic Living's News & Views

September 2015

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Dear ,  

It's that time of year, the Back-to-School season, where children are either looking forward to or dreading their return to class.  Some are off to new schools, new teachers, new friends.  Some will be excited, others anxiety-ridden, and a few will face potential harm.

In our Safety Skills for Kids class we always direct our young pupils to tell a trusted adult if something unusual or unsafe or uncomfortable happens.  If you are someone's trusted adult, does that sometimes scare you?  Do you stress over what you can say and do, what skills you need, to help someone depending on you for their safety?

Current research suggests that only 16% percent of children will tell an adult about sexual abuse, molestation, or rape. 

A child who confides in you is taking a chance, hoping that you will support them and care.  That does not happen overnight, it takes trust and building the relationship (even if you are a parent).  These 3 basic statements will confirm your role as a child's trusted adult and pave the way for helpful safety conversations.

    1.    Thank the child for speaking up.  This can take several forms.  You could say "I'm glad you told me," or "that's really brave of you to tell me," or even "thank you for telling me."   Reassure the child they're doing the right thing.  Sometimes children are intimidated, bribed, or shamed into silence.  Sometimes they're told by an abuser "don't be a tattle-tale." 

    2.    "I believe you."  When children hear responses along the lines of "are you sure?" or "maybe you misunderstood?" they often stop talking.  Many abusers will even tell their targets if they try to tell another adult, they won't be believed because other adults will believe an adult before a kid.  Before you say a word, your body language will give it away.  As soon as you realize this child may be telling you something scary, take a deep breath and give them your FULL attention.  Body language and all.

    3.    "It wasn't your fault."  It can be REALLY tempting to try to "fix" a problem.  Very often it's the easiest (and default) way for many adults is to "correct" a child's actions.  As we know, even the best intentions can lead to unintended impacts.  Children very often hear they are blamed for being harmed - and many abusers cultivate that fear to keep children silent.  Even if the child did break a safety rule, make sure they know that the person who hurt (or tried to hurt) them is solely responsible for those actions.  Just being able to say "it wasn't your fault, and I will do everything I can to keep you safe," will clear obstacles to gaining trust.

Come to think of it, these statements aren't limited to when you're hearing from children.  They are equally appropriate for teens, young adults, and kids of all ages.  Reasons for not telling about assault change little from childhood through old age.  Embarrassment, shame, getting blamed, internalizing fault, being re-victimized, accused of making it up, or trying to get revenge.  The details may change over the years, but the real barriers do not.

By considering these three principles for listening to and responding when someone's confiding in you, you are helping to dismantle the silence that supports rape culture.

Class Schedule Fall 2016:

Self-Defense 101 for Women

A six 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.
Six Monday evenings, 6:30 - 8:30 pm, at the University Heights Center, beginning September 21.

Six Tuesday evenings,
6:30 - 8:30 pm, at Phinney Neighborhood Center, beginning September 29.

Six Thursday evenings,
7:00 - 9:00 pm, at South Seattle College, beginning October 8.

Six Saturday afternoons, 1:30 - 3:30 pm, at Bellevue College's North Campus, beginning October 10. 

Six Sunday mornings, 10:00 am - noon, through the ASUW Experimental College (location in Seattle's International District), beginning October 11.

Six Monday evenings, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, at Seattle Central College, beginning November 2. 
NEW CLASS:  Beyond the Basics -- Self-Defense 102 for Women

Self-Defense 102 takes up material you learned in Self-Defense 101, and kicks it up a notch!
This is a progressive skill-building class, which means each session will review what you learned the previous week(s) and build on those skills. You should be prepared to commit to attending all 4 sessions. Each session is 2 hours in length. Prerequisite is Self-Defense 101, or another multi-session Empowerment Self-Defense program.
Offered Saturday afternoons, beginning September 12 at 1:30 - 3:30 pm.
Visit Strategic Living's Beyond the Basics page for more info as well as online registration! 
Single Day Seminars

This five hour self-defense basic class will be offered in Seattle's International District on:
  • September 27
  • October 25
  • December 6
A seminar will also be offered on September 26 at North Kirkland Community Center.
Also check out these shorter (2 hour) offerings at the Burien Community Center
NEW CLASS:  Safety Shorts 
This set of short classes focuses on specific self-defense topics. Each class stands on its own (you do not need to take #1 before #3). You can come to as many or as few as you'd like, depending on your interests.  Please note:  this is not a progressive skill-building series (if that's what you want, please register for Self-Defense 101).
  • Class 1:  Street Safety
  • Class 2:  Relationship Safety
  • Class 3:  Boundaries and Safety
  • Class 4:  Verbal Safety
Offered four  four Sunday mornings September 13 - October 4, 10:30 am - noon.

Visit Strategic Living's Safety Shorts page for more info and online registration.
For Teen Girls Only
  • For Girls Off to College is on September 19 at North Kirkland Community Center
  • For Teen Girls (ages 12-15) is on September 20, November 1, and December 13 in Seattle.
  •  For Teen Girls (ages 15+) is on November 8 in Seattle.
  • For Tween Girls (ages 10-13) is on November 15 in Seattle.
Visit the  Strategic Living Teen Girls page for more info and to register.   
Safety Skills for Kids   

Saturday, September 12 and December 12, at  North Kirkland Community Center
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 10% of their paid tuition 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  auctions? Ask me to donate a gift certificate for attendance at a Single Day 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. 

Contact Information
phone: 206.202.0748

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