1 in 5 Australian women will be Sexually Assaulted in their lifetime – Australian Bureau of Statistics

What we do

We are a not-for-profit organisation committed to reducing gender-based violence in Australia. We are based near Byron Bay & currently service the Northern Rivers region & surrounds. We provide Empowerment & Self Defence (ESD) training which is a comprehensive, trauma-informed approach to learning emotional, mental & physical skills for personal safety. It is designed specifically to empower vulnerable populations to live safe, violence-free lives. Our workshops combine the physical skills of self-defence with empowerment training covering topics such as: •  Awareness & Mindfulness •  Effective Communication •  Respectful Relationships •  Boundary Setting •  Self Care & Self Esteem •  Risk Assessment •  Consent •  Fight-Flight-Freeze Response •  Simple and Effective Physical Techniques •  Survivor Advocacy •  And So Much More…
women self defence mullumbimby
Our Training

Through real-life scenarios and practice drills, we coach you to find your voice, your inner strength and your physical confidence. Our services include multiple tiers of training focused on supporting communities at the greatest risk of sexual violence and physical assault.

We believe that cost should be no barrier to getting this vital training so we make scholarships available for every workshop we do.


Empowerment Self Defence (ESD)

All Personal Safety courses are not created equal… Empowerment Self Defence (ESD) is a comprehensive method of  trauma-informed, violence prevention education and personal safety skills for girls and women.

Why ESD

ESD was designed by women specifically for women and teaches recognition of threatening situations in the early stages with appropriate boundary-setting skills and risk-assessment strategies to stop an assault before it becomes physical. Since over 80% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the victim knows, these strategies and skills are designed to address the most common experiences of women in addition to addressing those assaults that are perpetrated by strangers.

What You Will Learn

We teach verbal, mental and physical skills for de-escalation and assault prevention, including assertive body language, boundary setting, using your voice as a weapon, adrenal stress scenarios and the making of informed choices to assess and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Physical Skills

All of the physical skills we teach are easy to learn and highly effective in preventing assault or ending an assault that may already be in progress. We use principles that work for any body-type and fitness level: strong against weak, hard against soft, closest weapon closest target; as well as tapping into the innate fighting spirit that we all have.

Our Teaching

At Empowered Today our instructors use multi-modal learning methods including lecture, discussion, games, personal reflection, and kinaesthetic exercises. The interactive social nature of ESD classes is an important component of the learning environment.
 

“We will equip you with a wide range of skills to navigate volatile situations in any environment”

“Women’s self-defense training is the only sexual violence prevention strategy with solid evidence of effectiveness at reducing rates of victimization”Jocelyn Hollander, Professor of Sociology, University of Oregon

Workshops

Intro

Our Intro course is a 3 hour introduction to Empowerment Self-Defence

$85
  • Situational Awareness
  • Busting Safety Myths
  • Boundary Setting
  • And more ...

Basix

Our Basix course is a 1 day workshop in Empowerment Self-Defence - inculdes everything from the 'Intro' course plus...

$197
  • Pre-Violence Indicators
  • Verbal De-escalation
  • Rape Defence
  • And more ...

Full

A 2 day workshop held over 2 weekends - includes everything from 'Basix' plus...

$320
  • Grabs/Holds/Strangles
  • Predator Assault
  • F.A.S.R. Training
  • And more ...

Intro

3hr

$105*

Our basic 3 hour workshop where students are introduced to the verbal, mental and physical skills for de-escalation and the making of informed choices for violence prevention. 


More Info

Mother/Daughter

Full day         

$247 $147*

Our Mother/Daughter workshop which includes everything from the ‘Intro’ course plus specific issues faced by Teens such as Safe Partying, Porn, Risk Assessment and Consent. 


More Info

EARLY BIRD

Basix

Full day

$247 $147*

Our flagship ‘Basix’ workshop: verbal, mental and physical skills for de-escalation plus real-life scenarios to learn how to walk, talk or fight your way out of potentially violent encounters


More Info

EARLY BIRD

Advanced

Full day

$247*

The second in our 1-day series. We will take you deeper into the psychology of sexual violence and how to recognise and prevent it. Plus lots more hands-on adrenal stress training


More Info

*We want to make sure that no-one misses out on this essential training, so scholarships are available for every workshop we run, please contact us to discuss.

Meet the team

IMG_2951

Lisa Evans

Founder - President - Instructor
Networker Extraordinaire

Lisa has over 20 years of teaching experience and is one
of only three certified ESD trainers in Australia. She is a
1st degree black belt in both Aikido and Goshindo and is
passionate about the transformation that happens when
women are taught Empowerment Self Defence.
Mark Evans

Mark Evans

Founder - Vice-President - Instructor
Researcher - Tech Wiz

Mark has been doing martial arts for over 25 years. He is
a 5th degree black belt in Aikido and has been running
dojos and teaching self defence for the last 15 years. His
goal is to affect positive change in people’s lives by providing
training that empowers those at risk of sexual violence.

simon instuctor2

Simon Morrison

Padded Instructor

When our workshops include Adrenal Stress Training, Simon assists us by donning specially designed padded equipment so that our participants get to experience
full-force striking as part of the real-life scenarios.
“People should have accurate information about gender-­based violence; that perpetrators, not victims, are responsible for violence; that people should decide what is best for them in any given situation; and that all of us are worth defending and have the right to do so.” – WIT Philadelphia

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Our classes are designed to be fun and engaging even though we deal with serious topics. All the exercises, drills and discussions are voluntary and you will not be asked to do anything you are not comfortable with.

During the assertiveness / empowerment section there will be a combination of short lectures, interactive exercises, and group discussions that will help you to develop your verbal self-defence skills and boundary setting, your awareness and intuition, and your understanding of the underlying causes of violence against women.

During the physical skills section, you will practice physical self-defence skills alone and with a partner. We encourage you to wear clothes that are easy to move in, but no special preparation is necessary. You do not need any prior experience or special skills to take our classes.

A: No. The physical techniques and scenarios we teach during the day are a combination of tried and tested ‘street defence’ tactics developed over the last 40 years. There is a huge focus on preventing violence and aggression, situational awareness, and using realistic survival strategies.

A: No! The physical skills we teach are easy to learn and do not require a great deal of strength or skill. They can be used by anyone, from children to older people. If you have particular concerns (for example, a bad back or a chronic injury), consult with our staff about how to adapt the skills for your situation.
A: Yes! Research has shown that empowerment-based self-defence training can reduce women’s risk of violence by at least 50%. See the ESD page for more information.

A: Yes. Research has shown that empowerment-based self-defence classes can be empowering and healing for sexual assault survivors. We aim to create a survivor-centred, trauma-informed classroom. However, we encourage you to be aware of where you are in your healing process, and to consult with a therapist or other advisor if you are not certain whether you are ready to take the class. None of the exercises in our courses are mandatory and you can opt-out of anything you are uncomfortable with.

A: Yes! As long as you identify as a woman (however you define it), you are welcome in this class. We are trans-friendly, queer-friendly, Greek-friendly, geek-friendly… We’re just friendly.

A: At this time, the women’s self-defence class is designed for people who identify as women. We are hoping to develop LGBTQI+ specific classes in the future.
A: All our instructors are committed to ending violence against women. They are passionate about helping women develop the tools to both Empower and Defend themselves, and have dedicated themselves to helping to build the most effective program possible. We believe that sexual assault is not just a women’s issue, and we value the contributions, expertise and experience of everyone who opposes sexual violence.
A: A ‘Trauma-informed’ environment is one in which a feeling of safety is paramount. We create a safe place for you to do the training where we outline the days events and ensure that you feel comfortable participating in the events. All activities are voluntary. As a personal safety training we always attribute the responsibility for assault to perpetrators, not the injured party. We respect that every person has a different life story and there is never any judgement around the past or the choices made to get to this point in time. We create a supportive friendly environment where we work together to understand and learn the skills to deal with the spectre of violence.

A: Not at all! The perpetrator is ALWAYS to blame for the violence they commit and ESD classes explicitly attribute responsibility for assault to perpetrators. Empowerment Self Defence is simply one of the tools available to help combat violence against women and just because a woman is capable of defending herself, does not mean that she is responsible for doing so.

There are already other tools being employed such as violence education and bystander intervention programs. However, systemic changes such as these often take generations to become part of mainstream society and in the meantime perpetrators will still be committing sexual assault. We are committed to teaching people about the nature of violence and giving them the tools to navigate those situations successfully.

When we tell a driver to wear a seatbelt in case they are in an accident we are not victim blaming them, we are simply trying to employ every means possible to keep them safe.

A: Yes. We never want money to be the reason a person doesn’t get this potentially life-saving training. We always make 2 free scholarship places available for every training we do. Please contact us if you would like to apply for a scholarship for one of our workshops.

Q: What will I be expected to do during the class?A: Our classes are designed to be fun and engaging even though we deal with serious topics. ALL the exercises, drills and discussions are voluntary and you will not be asked to do anything you are not comfortable with. During the physical skills section, you will practice physical self-defence skills alone and with a partner. We encourage you to wear clothes that are easy to move in, but no special preparation is necessary. You do not need any prior experience or special skills to take our classes. During the assertiveness / empowerment section there will be a combination of short lectures, interactive exercises, and group discussions that will help you to develop your verbal self-defence skills and boundary setting, your awareness and intuition, and your understanding of the underlying causes of violence against women. Q: I’m a survivor of sexual assault. Is taking a self-defence class a good idea for me?  A: Yes. Research has shown that empowerment-based self-defence classes can be empowering and healing for sexual assault survivors. We aim to create a survivor-centred, trauma-informed classroom. However, we encourage you to be aware of where you are in your healing process, and to consult with a therapist or other advisor if you are not certain whether you are ready to take the class. None of the exercises in our courses are mandatory and you can opt-out of anything you are uncomfortable with. Q: Do I need to be super athletic to take a self-defence class? A: No! The physical skills we teach are easy to learn and do not require a great deal of strength or skill. They can be used by anyone, from children to older people. If you have particular concerns (for example, a bad back or a chronic injury), consult with our stagg about how to adapt the skills for your situation. Q: I’m a trans woman or a genderqueer woman. Can I participate? A: Yes! As long as you identify as a woman (however you define it), you are welcome in this class. We are trans-friendly, queer-friendly, Greek-friendly, geek-friendly… We’re just friendly. Q: I’m a trans man, or a cisgender man. Can I participate? A: At this time, the women’s self-defence class is designed for people who identify as women. We are hoping to develop LGBTQ+-specific classes in the future. Q: I notice that one of your instructors is male. Why is a man teaching women’s self-defence? A: All our instructors are committed to ending violence against women. They are passionate about helping women develop the tools to both Empower and Defend themselves, and have dedicated themselves to helping to build the most effective program possible. We believe that sexual assault is not just a women’s issue, and we value the contributions, expertise and experience of everyone who opposes sexual violence. Q: Can self-defence prevent violence? A: Yes! Research has found that empowerment-based self-defence training can reduce women’s risk of violence by at least 50%. See the ESD page for more information.

Testimonials

ESD Empowered Today

Sinead
Actor

“I had a great experience,
everyone should learn this stuff – it will give you so much confidence!
The teachers were very friendly, passionate and supportive and I learned about self defence specific to being a woman.”

empowered woman

Caterina
Lawyer

“Absolutely fantastic, mind blowing, challenging and a great learning experience. The presenters were great, just great. Warm, steady, clear and centered. It has raised my awareness of my presence in the world and potential in different situations.
I feel more confident.”

Empowerment Self Defence

Caitlin
Account Manager

“An excellent course!!
It will deepen your understanding of awareness and how presence is the best form of self defence. The combination of verbal and physical skills as well as tools to give you the best opportunity to protect yourself”

Tracey
Business Owner

“A necessary self defence course for women designed by women that covers a more realistic approach to the skills girls and women need to prevent themselves from ever needing physical self defence.”

Ruby
Student

“I love feeling empowered!
I felt like I took control of my voice and was able to learn how to use what I already have to protect and stand up for myself”

Naomi
Psychologist

“I learned about the reality of violence against women, and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. Emotional intelligence and physical prowess all in one day”

Teia
Student

“The skills I learnt were so important.
I now have the confidence in myself that I have the ability to deal with any situation.”

Brooke
Entrepreneur

“The day was comprehensive and well balanced with solid, well researched statistics, a great myth busting session and time to put the physical techniques into practice.”

Clara
Business owner

There were so many take home tips and skills that have me feeling more confident and empowered about protecting myself. The facilitators were both very compassionate and created a safe and comfortable space. This is a much needed training these days and I am very grateful that something like this exists.

Testimonials

"I learned about self defence specific to being a woman.
Everyone should learn this stuff - it will give you so much confidence! ...I had a great experience and the teachers were very friendly, passionate and supportive"
Sinead
Actor
"I loved feeling empowered!
I felt like I took control of my voice and was able to learn how to use what I already have to protect and stand up for myself"
Ruby
Student
"An excellent course to deepen your understanding of awareness and how presence is the best form of self defence. The combination of verbal and physical skills as well as tools to give you the best opportunity to protect yourself"
Caitlin
Account Manager
"I learned about the reality of violence against women, and what we can do to protect ourselves from it. Emotional intelligence and physical prowess all in one day"
Empowerment Self Defence
Naomi
Psychologist

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