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The Safety Godmothers: The ABCs of Awareness, Boundaries and Confidence for Teens Paperback – June 27, 2014
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The Safety Godmothers is an uplifting and inspiring book that leaves the reader cheering for each of the protagonists in these true stories. The writing is fresh and clear, with generous helpings of humor.
The stories show how people effectively deal with a dangerous situation, often using ingenuity rather than force. Best of all, this book shows how you can become your own hero.
Written primarily for teens, parents and adults can also use this book in so many ways. Read it with your teen!
-- Cristael Ann Bengtson (educator & author), September 8, 2014
From the Back Cover
QUOTES FROM TEENS -- BOTH GIRLS AND BOYS -- WHO HAVE TAKEN AN IMPACT PERSONAL SAFETY COURSE
"I am more aware of situations and how to stay safe."
"I've felt an incredible transformation in my confidence and my awareness."
"I learned how to avoid bad situations before they occur."
"I now have calm and confidence in the face of distress."
"My favorite part was hitting the guy and not getting in trouble!"
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Let’s be clear. The authors take an holistic approach to defense – this is not a book of tips and tricks, or martial arts. Seeing those as solutions is a misconception. The book is against disrespect and violence of any kind for either gender, but Ellen and Lisa draw a clear distinction between how boys are brought up (to defend themselves, stand their ground, protect women) and how girls relate to defending themselves (it’s not ladylike, be quiet, don’t annoy your aggressor, it might work out).
What I learned is that typical strategies that girls and women use don’t work out. Societally, we expect women to be incapable of defending themselves, but as a species, we’re born with an innate defense instinct – we were the protectors of our children when the men were out hunting, we still are. Personal anecdote – I will never forget that surge of adrenalin when someone threatened to kill my new-born baby. Yes, she was mentally ill, but in that moment, I felt capable of murder.
On a global scale, the estimates are that 4 out of 5 women will experience a physical attack in their lifetime. I’ve had three. How I wish I read this book at 14 or 15, before those incidents happened. The outcomes would have been very different.
Although the intention of the book is to highlight the need for girls and women (and boys and men) to activate their capability to defend themselves, the starting point is to deal with our own blindness to danger (unawareness) and at the other end of the spectrum, our fear. As we grow up as girls, we’re taught to be nice. Unfortunately, “nice” is a barrier to setting boundaries to what is acceptable especially for a child. The books shows how to overcome that barrier. How to be honest and forthright about drawing the line, rather than “people pleasing”. That uncle that hugs you a bit too closely, that harrassing work colleague who says “can’t you take a joke” when you object. From overcoming the resistance to dealing with it (I must be “nice”), the first line of defense is verbal.
A major underpinning of the philosophy of the Safety Godmother’s is to avoid a fight if at all possible, while knowing that you could take it on, anyone on, if you had to. Imagine if you could deal with the drunk who’d follow you out from the frat party and then got way too friendly and then nasty. Tracy handled that situation.
Changing the outcome from a rape to an arrest is the power given to people who do the defense training “IMPACT” espoused by the Godmothers. This training takes participants to “zero”, unpicking preconceived notions of defense (like using your fists) and steadily building a strategy for recognizing when things are off-kilter, recognizing potential danger, calmly determining your strategy and then using all kinds of tools to achieve a good outcome: being clear about what you want, yelling, taking a powerful stance, using attack and defense techniques that will deal with that coward who is threatening you.
Because, when it comes down to it, aggressors are cowards – they prey on the weak. Safety Godmothers shows us how to be strong in the face of an aggressor. These compelling pages have the power to save your life.
With mantras like “If you can imagine it, you can do it yourself,” the writers seek to reverse the doctrines like, “you always have to be well mannered and respectful” that many have been taught from a young age. No more people pleasing when it comes to protecting yourself, which means learning to say “no” with conviction. The book describes how men and women of all ages avoided precarious situations, emphasizing the importance of getting out of dangerous situations by using your words and actions to avoid conflict.
I would recommend this book to anyone, female or male, who thinks they may at one point in their life, be found in a dangerous situation. And especially for the person who thinks that they will not.
I am happy to report, “The Safety Godmothers,” has inspired my daughter to enroll in an IMPACT Personal Safety course and learn more about protecting herself. Thank you, Snortland and Gaeta. #ProudDadHere
Written by two professionals in self-defense, Ellen Snortland and Lisa Gaeta, this book provides answers to a variety of situations ranging from physical attacks to psychological putdowns. Imbued with wisdom and common sense, "The Safety Godmothers" combines old-fashioned advice with self-defense tactics that literally anyone, any age can use. These include: the importance of â€œNo!â€ Heed our sensesâ€”theyâ€™re our early warning system. Our inborn defense system. How to verbally set boundaries. How our fear of displeasing others diminishes us. Letting others be more important/take precedence over us. Building up self-confidence. And the most important message of all: everyone needs to know how to be their first responder.
This is a book for mothers and teenagers, both male and female, to read. Itâ€™s also a book for college students, career women, working women, old ladies, and young men. It is profound, irreverent, humorous, hard-sell, serious, intense, and light-hearted. The vignettes illustrate potential danger situations and are highly relevant in the context of self-defense.
This book teaches, counsels, assists, whispers in your ear and shouts from the rooftops, â€œLearn to defend yourself!!!â€ It is a treasure trove of information. Importantly, the reader will enjoy reading it.