about Respect Rx

RESPECT co-author, Courtney Macavinta, blogs for girls and women about how to build your self-respect and spread respect for all! At The Respect Institute she teaches people of all ages how to integrate The Respect Basics into their lives, work and advocacy. More about About Courtney

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Boundaries, Self-Defense

How To Say No (Audio)

Yelling with power when you’re feeling threatened by someone isn’t about screaming or raising the pitch of your voice like a desperate victim in a horror movie. Listen to these audio clips to learn how to say NO! with power.

Have you ever heard the way that military officers speak during drills (in real life or in the movies)? Your goal is to yell “NO!” with that kind of power but with a little less “bark.” Think of it like singing opera or cheerleading: You need to yell from your diaphragm—your gut—not from the top of your throat, so you sound forceful and commanding.

To practice, yell “NO!” seriously, loudly, and with conviction. Do it as loud and strong as you can, until you scare yourself or someone in the other room with your assertiveness. (Just warn your family ahead of time that you’re practicing and not being attacked for real.) Here are some examples of what a strong “No!” sounds like, as well as some other important boundaries:


I said NO!

Leave me alone!

Back off!

If the person persists, yell to alert other people to the situation:

I don't know this man!

This person is bothering me!

This girl is threatening me!

Audio performed by Andrea Vander Pluym, teen self-defense instructor and co-author of RESPECT. Illustration by Catherine LePage © Free Spirit Publishing Inc. 2005.

Help!, Self-Defense

Help! Self-Defense

Dr. Ruthless
Get a look at impact self-defense and find inspiration for taking a course. Also has a helpful collection of informative articles and survival tips.

Impact Bay Area (formerly BAMM)
A great overview of impact-style self-defense and links to impact self-defense offerings in other states and countries.

Impact Self-Defense
Find a program near you.

800-YWCA-US1 (800-992-2871)
With more than 25 million members around the globe, the organization's mission is to "eliminate racism and empower women." The YWCA provides safe places for women and girls, builds strong girl leaders, and advocates for women's rights and civil rights in Congress. Many YWCAs offer self-defense courses. Check listings in your area.

Beauty Bites Beast: Awakening the Warrior Within Women and Girls
by Ellen B. Snortland
A great introduction to the mindset of self-defense. Teaches assertiveness and self-defense skills.

Girl Power: Self-Defense for Teens
by Burt Konzak, Melina Konzak, and Sonya Konzak
Read about situations that many teens encounter in their daily lives and learn preventive measures, avoidance techniques, and self-defense skills.

Her Wits About Her: Self-Defense Success Stories by Women
by Denise Caignon and Gail Groves, Eds.
Inspirational stories about women who defeated their assailants and how they did it.

llustration by Catherine LePage © Free Spirit Publishing Inc. 2005