The government’s refusal to believe that one of their own could turn on them despite clear warnings (and tons of evidence)

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Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

I live in Europe, so it was already evening here when Trump was starting his rally that would set off the coup in the US, attempting to disrupt Constitutional procedure and overthrow the United States government. I went to bed early that night, but woke up at 3am to check the news. By that time, most of the insurrectionists had exited the Capitol building and it was all over.

Like most people around the world, I was horrified. And, like so many people in the US, I was not surprised.

I was, however, fed up.

In the hours and days following Trump’s coup, literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people have pointed out that Trump and his followers had been openly planning this event for months — it was hardly a secret… to anyone outside of the Federal government, that is. …

What I’m Taking With Me, and What I’m Leaving Behind

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The last year was hard on the entire world: devastating for too many, and daunting for us all. I was very lucky: while some people dear to me did contract COVID-19 and are suffering Long Covid symptoms, no one in my circle of family or friends lost their lives to the virus or any of the fallout from the pandemic.

I don’t take this for granted — the likelihood that it still can and probably will affect us in the most terrible way is still very high. …

Why the word “prey” is so harmful to women’s safety

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Photo by Matt Winkleft on Unsplash

When I am certifying new self defense trainers in the Pretty Deadly Self Defense program, I walk them through the rules for self defense training that are the mainstay of the program, and that coaches and trainers are required to inform their own clients at the beginning of every course they teach: 1/ training takes place in a safe space; 2/ you cannot make mistakes; 3/ the word “sorry” is forbidden; 4/ so is the word “prey”.

The logic behind most of our training rules are pretty easy to grasp:

1/ Our training always takes place in a safe space: no one has to do anything they’re not comfortable doing, because self defense is not about pushing past your comfort zone, but defending your comfort zone. …

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Screenshot from “Violence Against Women” by Hannah Kugel © 2020 | Used with permission of the artist

Over the past week, two separate women that I’m teaching self defense to asked me, “what about the eyes?” They had had previous training where they were taught that a good form of self defense is to try and gauge the attacker’s eyes out, but both of these women were concerned that they wouldn’t be able to make themselves do that, if they needed to. One of the women also mentioned she had been told to splay her keys between her fingers if she’s walking anywhere and feels unsafe.

Two days later, my friend Hannah published a beautiful, intense video she had made for the International Day for Ending Violence Against Women, which this year fell on 25 November — which also happened to be Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The coincidence is ironic because, on a day in the US that is meant to celebrate the joining of two cultures and two peoples to build one great nation, one might also point out that Native American women are murdered and sexually assaulted at rates as high as 10 times the average in the United States. …

Suicide, addiction and abuse.

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Photo by Ivan Torres on Unsplash

Recently my feet swelled up beyond anything normal from the heat we’ve been having here in Berlin. I was concerned, so made a doctor’s appointment, but of course I had to consult Dr Google as well. One of the causes of sudden feet swelling is a blood clot in the leg, which scared me of course, because that can kill you. So the night I found that out, I was brushing my teeth before bed, looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, am I gonna see you tomorrow?

Then I realized how much I look forward to seeing myself every day. I don’t mean in a vain way, but rather that I’ve been taking it for granted that I always would, and now here was (a totally imaginary) possibility that I wouldn’t. …

Understanding Feminist Economics

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Photo by Alora Griffiths on Unsplash

Yesterday, somebody on Twitter tweeted “No mail. No healthcare. No jobs. No free or fair elections. Banned from the rest of the world. Our taxes blown on giveaways to corrupt corporations and institutions. Police violence against anyone who challenges this arrangement. We’re living in a failed state, no doubt about it.”

This caught my eye, because although the tweeter was referring to the US, the statement can also be applied to Belarus, the Ukraine, Poland, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, China and Hong Kong, and as of last week, the UK — specifically in relation to the A-Levels scandal that is applying algorithms to student data and, like the famous Hogwart’s hat, sorting students into universities based not on merit or grades, but on demographics like post codes, ethnic backgrounds, and household income levels, in many cases rescinding university places already granted to people of color in particular, and basically upholding a white, patriarchal status quo. …

How my martial arts skills helped me build an app against impossible odds

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Me during my Ninjutsu Shodan test (first level black belt) at Studio City Martial Arts in Los Angeles, CA, 2006 | photo by Stanley Appleman

It’s been a big week for Pretty Deadly Self Defense this past week, and while our Sunday Cuppa feature is usually dedicated to more in-depth discussions about what’s going on in the world, we need to take a step back and appreciate just how momentous our accomplishment this week really is.

Two years ago, we decided to design an app. The idea was to make self defense accessible to people who don’t have access to regular self defense classes: due to work or study hours, type of job, racial, religious, gender stigma, location, or disability barriers. …

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Demonstration Against Racism, Berlin 2020 | Photo by Susie Kahlich

The American Army vet, actor, writer and producer Tony Estese posted a short video by his friend Devon Khan to Instagram the other day, sharing Mr Khan’s thoughts about racism as it applies to police brutality. You can watch the whole video here:

He notes, “we can’t be divided on this issue.” And he’s right.

Tony is an old friend from high school, but I don’t personally know Mr. Khan (I’ve shared his video with his and While I’m actually for abolishing the police altogether, Mr. Khan said two things in the video that really got to me, and that have been occupying my thoughts for the past few days. …

After surviving a violent assault, I wish my support network had helped me in these ways instead of following traditional support advice.

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Jessica Delp for Unsplash

Over the course of my 10 years of teaching self defense to violence and trauma survivors, and drawing on my personal experience as a survivor of violence, I wanted to share some of the things I’ve learned as well, and offer guidance on how to provide a safe space for listening, strength, and support for someone who is the victim of sexual assault.

Although I could logically accept that the attack was not my fault, I still struggled with toxic feelings on an emotional level.

First, let me tell you what it felt like inside my skin after surviving a violent assault, as a way to illustrate what it may be like for the person who is confiding in you. Although I could logically accept what my therapist and my support network reassured me of, that the attack was not my fault and there was nothing to be ashamed of, I still struggled with the feelings below on an emotional…

Living through domestic abuse during COVID 19: Strategies for Survival

Written by Susie Kahlich and Eve Parmiter

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Gabriel Benois via Unsplash

If you live in an environment of abuse, but are forced through quarantine or social distancing to stay home, the situation at home may be more volatile as panic, anxiety and the frustration of staying in a smaller area mounts. What do you do when home is not a safe place to be?

If staying away from home is not an option for you, here are some techniques to keep yourself as physically safe as possible until the current situation has passed:

1/ Make a plan. You do have a right to protect yourself, and you deserve basic safety.

Create a plan for yourself with “incident” markers that activate steps for you. For example, if the volatile person goes from screaming to punching a wall, that is your marker to call a friend for help. You know better than anyone what those markers are for you, but it helps to write them down into a clear guideline that you can easily remember when it’s hard to think. …


Susie Kahlich

Producer and host of the bi-monthly podcast, Artipoeus: Art You Can Hear, and founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense. /

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