“But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.”
Free Self-Defense Class
St. Michaels YMCA
April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and my sweet dad has asked to sponsor the self-defense class on April 8th in honor of my mom, Carol Layer, who lost a 9 year battle with oral cancer. I have no doubt that the fight I saw in my mom over the 9 years she fought cancer directly impacted the fight I had in me the night of the attack.
I saw my mom go through insurmountable obstacles due to oral cancer, but she continued to carry on and fight for more time with her family. I was so fortunate to have a mom like mine for 24 years and her influence continues to play a large role in my life today.
LeCarlo Beaty from Divas in Defense will be coming back to St. Michaels to teach life saving skills on April 8th. Thank you Tracy Cohee for again donating the space at the St. Michaels YMCA!
The class is free and all ages are welcome. We will be selling Rising Strength tanks at the class for $25 with 100% of the proceeds going to The Oral Cancer Foundation. My awesome and talented friend Beth Murray designed the logo. Thank you, B!!
1 in 6 women in America will survive an attempted or completed rape. 1 in 87 women in America will take a self-defense class.
Thank you to the women who braved the snow on Saturday to attend the self-defense class at the St. Michaels YMCA! It was a great morning with LeCarlo Beaty from Divas in Defense providing many life saving skills. We went over how to properly punch, kick and get out of holds. Thank you, LeCarlo, for your enthusiasm, professionalism and traveling over two-hours to get to the class!
We had women of all ages in attendance and received great feedback. Thank you,Tracy Cohee, for providing the space for the class and to your awesome staff for staying open in the snow storm! We will be providing another free self-defense class in the upcoming months.
Thanks, Eddie, for being the best “attacker” and photographer on Saturday 🙂
“I believe everyone should get some self defense and safety training from a qualified instructor AND most importantly never be complacent about your personal safety…. it can happen anywhere at anytime so better to be prepared than not!”
– Todd Williams
I recently spoke with Two-Time United States Olympic Distance Runner and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Todd Williams, who is also the founder of RunSafer, about the importance of taking self-defense classes. Todd explained how self-defense classes improve situational awareness and build confidence. After the attack, I went from being independent and confident to feeling scared to be alone. It was only after I started to train at a MMA studio with a skilled trainer that I started to feel like myself again. The more that I trained the more I could feel my confidence returning and fear slipping away. I wanted other women to have this empowering experience.
Several months after the attack, I started to speak publicly about what happened to me and the role self-defense had in my life. I started organizing workshops and speaking to colleges and teams. An article was written about Rising Strength and picked up by the Associated Press. My trainer and I were ecstatic that our workshops were getting some press and that my story was being heard.
Shortly after the original article was published another article using my story was featured in the Nashville Scene, that countered our approach to keeping women safe through self-defense and argued teaching self-defense puts the responsibility of the rape on the victim if they can’t defend themselves. I am grateful for the continuation of the conversation and different viewpoint, however, I disagree wholeheartedly that self-defense in any way makes victims responsible if they are unable to defend themselves.
To me, self-defense is the equivalent of a seat belt. A seat belt makes no guarantee that you will survive every car accident, it just gives you a better chance. From my experience a chance is sometimes the difference between tragedy and triumph. In no way does self-defense make a victim of rape responsible for rape if they are unable to defend themselves. Additionally, self-defense provides an outlet for victims to gain their confidence back and feel empowered.
Last month, I had the opportunity to speak and participate in the Divas in Defense self-defense class held at Fitness Rx in Easton, MD. I shared my story and why I believe taking self-defense classes is so important. The turnout was fantastic and it was wonderful to see women of all ages participating in the class. Thank you to everyone who came out to the event, Fitness RX and LeCarlo! The next Divas in Defense workshop that I will be speaking at will be held on April 23 at Fitness RX at noon. Please message me for any additional information.