In 2001, when college senior Shannon McNamara was attacked in the middle of the night in her apartment by former Eastern Illinois University student Anthony Mertz, she was alone to defend herself but nonetheless put up a fight for survival. And because she fought back, investigators were able to find enough DNA evidence left behind to prosecute her attacker.
Though the case is now closed, McNamara is the inspiration for friend Erin Weed to begin Girls Fight Back (GFB), an organization dedicated to teaching and empowering people – women in particular – how to be their own best protectors.
Weed began giving “edu-taining” presentations across the United States that blend straight talk, comedy, and of course butt-kicking. The kind that resembles a “Ke$ha concert, but with more eye jabs and less body glitter.” Not your typical self-defense workshop.
The company has since expanded to train girls in India and Pakistan, and hopes to reach countries in Africa. Since launching in 2001, it has reached one million women and girls.
GFB teaches nothing out of a Bruce Lee movie, but according to their Sassy Self-Defense Guide, there are simple, effective techniques that even a 100-pound female can use against a much larger person.
Ladies, try not to get carried away, but for example, there are spots that one can hit where an attacker is most vulnerable – the throat, eyes, nose, knee, finger, groin, or ankle, to name a few.
A “palm strike” involves using the hard bone at the heel of the hand to strike an attacker’s nose or forehead. A “groin strike” involves striking an attacker between the legs.
The goal is to not to cause pain, but disability for a chance to escape.
As for GFB, the goal is to teach young women the basics of personal safety and self-defense, so that they can live more fearlessly.
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