Teen Dating Violence FAQ

Background & History

Much of the material for this FAQ is based upon materials developed by Chuck Buhs teaching the activity class “Self-Defense for Women” at St. Mary’s College of California in Moraga, CA. This credit course helped students understand and manage various situations in a more confident — and safe — manner.

The goal of this activity course was simple: Don’t be victimized; take steps to get safe, be safe, stay safe!

What did the students think?

Following is the feedback of a few students from the St. Mary’s course. These statements reflect trends indicated in the literature regarding gender socialization. Prior to taking the course, some students felt that they were helpless against men who intended physical harm. At the end of the semester, students expressed having increased confidence, awareness of their surroundings, and knowledge of more than one method to protect themselves.

left quotation markI know that for me personally, prior to this class, I always saw men as some kind of unstoppable force that women could never defend themselves against...I no longer see myself as the weaker of the sexes, but instead, I worry about anyone that might try to attack me because I will not allow anything to happen to me.right quotation mark
left quotation markThrough the self-defense class, I learned that there are more options when it comes to protecting myself and avoiding harmful situations that I never really thought about.right quotation mark
left quotation markI believe that this class helped me be aware that even though I am a woman I still can have authority and be in charge of a dangerous situation. Also, now I am not afraid to yell! This is a big improvement from when I first began, because I could barely raise my voice and now I am screaming when I kick and hit, and it feels good!right quotation mark
left quotation markThe most important and most helpful thing that I’ve learned in this class was the over-all technique taught. Anyone can punch or kick, but in this class you learn how to do those things but on top of that, you are also taught how to execute them in a manner where you will be able to keep yourself safe while at the same time inflicting damage on the attacker.right quotation mark


MSMAP offered its first MSMAP Self-Defense Workshop in Summer 2008 followed by its second workshop in Spring 2009. Topics covered handling oneself in social/dating situations and groups. Emphasis is on using awareness, assessment, and action to manage oneself well to be safe and stay safe.

More information and helpful resources are available.
Go to: Self-Defense Resources

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