Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing apps’ SOS button hasn’t improved user safety. Here’s what they can do about it.

Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash

I’m a fan of mass transit, but for me, the ongoing pandemic has meant less subway usage and more private transportation when I need to make a trip across town I can’t reasonably reach by foot.

A few weeks ago, I did just that. I took an Uber to an appointment to get some documents notarized that actually wasn’t that far away, but it was windy and raining something awful, and the walk from the nearest underground stop to the notary’s office was long enough that I was sure to get drenched. So I hailed an Uber.

I was leaving…


The difference between helping, protecting, and just being considerate

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Last week I posted an article exploring some aspects of toxic masculinity via a date I went on in December 2020. The article received quite a few comments, but one in particular kept coming up that I could not figure out until someone graciously explained their viewpoint in great detail.

In the article, I mentioned that my date did not extend the same consideration for my safety that he would have extended to his adult daughter. The response to this point from commenters was, consistently, that the guy was not invested in me enough to consider being worth protecting. …


Are we going deep enough when we’re looking at toxic masculinity?

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash

Earlier this year, I was surprised to learn that the term “toxic masculinity” was originally coined by the Men’s Movement in the 1980s and 1990s. All this time, I honestly thought “toxic masculinity” was a feminist academic term to describe men who are assholes without calling them assholes.

“Toxic masculinity” refers to traditional patriarchal and societal constructs and expectations of boys and men that encourages competitiveness, domination, conquering, and zero-sum thinking, while denying boys and men the tools to develop cooperation, sensitivity, and emotional intelligence. …


Trans men have different self defense needs at different stages of transition

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

Facebook reminded me that, this time last year, we wrapped our first Self Defense for Trans Men course. Using our Level 1 self defense course as a starting point, we worked together with the participants in our course to develop a program that addressed the specific situations trans men face, during all phases of transition.

We covered topics from homophobia and transphobia on the streets and in public transportation, to territorial behavior over workout equipment and what happens in men’s locker rooms at the gym. …


What does design for future cities really look like?

The skyline of a large waterfront city at sunset is viewed through a broken chainlink fence. Skyscrapers and a suspension bridge are in the distance, and a highway with cars traveling on it runs along the bay of water.
The skyline of a large waterfront city at sunset is viewed through a broken chainlink fence. Skyscrapers and a suspension bridge are in the distance, and a highway with cars traveling on it runs along the bay of water.
Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

I think a lot about future cities because I believe that physical self-defense is a very human reality that should be included in future design. Anywhere a large number of people gather to live, work, educate and play — and journey between those points of existence— will also include some levels of crime and violence.

“Future Cities” has been a buzzword around the tech and start-up world for the past few years. What will they look like? Who will live there? What do they need to do?

I’ve watched the conversation evolve from enthusiastic tech bros who design cool Star…


For Earth Day, I was wondering: can violence against women and girls contribute to climate change? Here’s what I found.

We know that natural disasters caused by climate change, climate crises, and scarcity of resources increases violence against women and girls.

In a study conducted in Australia, it was reported that cases of violence against women increased by 300% with post-disaster stress and in addition result in changes in income status, continuing the cycle of climate disaster — violence — poverty — climate change.

Thanks to gender stereotypes and enforced gender roles, women’s inability to secure their own safety and shelter in disaster areas, along with a lack of knowledge for self-protection, often makes them more vulnerable, and exposes them…


Why we need more than bright lights and busy streets

Over the past few years, as awareness of the prevalence of sexual violence, rape culture, domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the risks women face in public spaces rises, the conversation tends to focus on re-education boys and men, and often populations at large, about gender-based violence, whether to ensure on an individual level that men’s anger shouldn’t be taken out on women or on a structural level to take women’s safety into consideration when designing products, prescriptions and public space.

Rightly so; however, this re-education, research and re-design takes time. Meanwhile, every two minutes somewhere in the United…


When workplace sexism is used as a distraction from something darker

[European Union 2021]

On 6 April, representatives of the European Union met with the President of Turkey, to discuss several pressing political matters. The EU representatives were Charles Michel, President of the EU Council President, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission.

But at the meeting with Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey, only one EU President got at seat at the table.

Both Presidents hold equal diplomatic rank, and both Presidents represent the EU on the world stage. Hosting the two Presidents in Ankara, Erdogan led Michel and von der Leyen into the room where the meeting was to take place…


What does endurance mean and why is it so important now?

Photo by Andrew Tanglao on Unsplash

Lately I’ve been using Twitter a little more heavily, mostly to keep up with developments I’m following in a few different areas. This article about our current pandemic situation and finish-line anxiety popped up in my feed yesterday:

This article reminded me of a conversation I had just had on Lunchclub with an anthropologist, who told me his work right now is focused on the modern definition of “endurance”.

Endurance is a funny word, that has both positive and negative meaning associated with it. Endurance is what powers you through a marathon; but in contemporary Biblical terms (and older Puritanical…


Statistics on violence against women are sending the wrong message

One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner.

Violence against women has been at the forefront of the news the past couple of weeks: from the accusations of rape in the Australian Parliament to the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard in London to the mass shooting in Atlanta targeting Asian women working in massage parlors.

As the media covers each of these events, the sheer prevalence of violence against women mentioned in every story, and the following UN Women stats are always cited:

Susie Kahlich

Founder of Pretty Deadly Self Defense @ prettydeadlyselfdefense.com // Former producer of art podcast Artipoeus: art you can hear @ artipoeus.com

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