Who’s Got Your Back?

The perception of safety in partnerships

Susie Kahlich
6 min readApr 30


Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

[This account has been dormant for a while due to a swirling bunch of changes. Now that things are back on solid ground, I can get back to weekly posts! Hello!]

Last week I was a featured guest on the Dad La Soul podcast. Dad La Soul is a great social impact initiative founded by Dan Flanagan, tackling social isolation for dads.

I was there to talk about Pretty Deadly Self Defense, and the importance of learning self defense in general, especially for the female partners of the dads in Dad La Soul.

During the session, a great question came up: do we teach self defense to kids?

The short answer is: yes, we have a special program for kids. But the long answer is: no.

Photo by Tanya Trofymchuk on Unsplash

Let me explain.

The subject of the perception of safety among single women vs. partnered women happened to come up with a marketing agency that we had engaged several years ago. Our account representative told us that, ever since she got married, she felt she didn’t need to worry about her safety anymore.

On the surface this makes a lot of sense: if you’re young and single, you’re more likely to go out and stay out late, you’re on your own, you’re exploring the world… and sometimes the world is dangerous.

However, this way of thinking is also inadvertently reinforcing an outdated notion of the purpose of marriage. It’s saying that as long as a woman is single, she’s vulnerable to violence, but as soon as she is partnered, she is protected.

Women spend about 50% of our time and energy strategizing how to stay safe, and we’ve been worrying about it since we were little girls. So the idea of letting someone else worry about our safety is pretty damn appealing. I get it.

Except it’s just not realistic.

And I say this not because I want to turn this into an article about domestic violence (although that is also a factor), but because we are not glued to our partners 24/7/365.



Susie Kahlich

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