Does self-defense training prevent sexual violence against women?

Violence Against Women. 2014 Mar;20(3):252-69. doi: 10.1177/1077801214526046. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Self-defense classes are offered across the nation as a strategy for reducing women's vulnerability to sexual assault. Yet there has been little systematic research assessing the effectiveness of these classes. In this article, I use data from a mixed methods study of a 10-week, university-based, feminist self-defense class to examine the effectiveness of self-defense training over a 1-year follow-up period. My analyses indicate that women who participate in self-defense training are less likely to experience sexual assault and are more confident in their ability to effectively resist assault than similar women who have not taken such a class.

Keywords: prevention; self-defense training; sexual assault.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Power, Psychological
  • Rape / prevention & control*
  • Safety*
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Sex Offenses / prevention & control
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universities
  • Violence / prevention & control*
  • Women
  • Women's Health*
  • Young Adult