September 27, 2023

Equip, Empower and Educate

By: Sonya D. Lavett

When Christy Dove Martin picked up the Damsels in Defense catalog and began reading it, she was instantly intrigued. With a background in safety and fire service, safety was always on her mind but self-defense was not necessarily in her realm of immediate awareness.

Sure, she made certain that her family knew how to escape danger and what route to take should the house catch on fire. She was prepared for destructive weather events, but she had not really given much thought to an individual personally attacking her through violent means in a parking lot, or even worse, in her home with her children.

We hear the statistics; they are difficult to fathom. Every 40 seconds, a child is abducted. One in five women have been raped. We are all too familiar with the stories regarding women being abused and violently attacked, many times at the hands of the very people who claim to love them. One in three is the latest number. It is astonishing to think about.

That is a lot of women being hurt.

Two moms, Mindy Lin and Bethany Hughes, became frustrated with this information and decided to take action. They began searching for non-lethal ways to protect themselves and their families and in 2011, they co-founded Damsels in Defense. Today, there are more than 12,000 Damsels nationwide. The organization markets non-lethal weapons to women who are passionate about keeping themselves safe. Their line includes stun guns, a variety of pepper sprays, concealed carry purses in a variety of gorgeous colors and more.

Because, let’s face it, it is important to women that our accessories match.

Damsels call their gatherings Empower Hours because their mission is to “equip, empower and educate.” Their goal is to spread as much empowerment to women as they possibly can through education about self-defense and potentially life-saving techniques.

Arming yourself with the right tools is important, but even more important is arming yourself with information. That is true empowerment.

There are so many scary stories of women being attacked when they least expected it. What if these women had a stun gun or pepper spray at their disposal? Would the result be the same? Would more women be able to walk away from these attackers and live to tell their story? Undoubtedly.

With Damsels in Defense, women are given the information and tools they need to survive surprise attacks. Just being aware of your surroundings is a major advantage to staying safe, but situational awareness alone may not keep you invulnerable. In terms of strength and brawn, men typically have an advantage over women. Having some pepper spray on your key chain or a stun gun to use against an attacker could mean the difference between life and death.

Some women prefer to pack a more powerful weapon, a gun. Damsels understand the needs of many women to carry a gun in order to protect themselves as long as that individual is highly trained with their weapon.

Layering is another method that is used for self-protection. A woman may have a gun in the concealed part of her purse, but also carry a key chain with pepper spray attached. Now she has a choice of which weapon to use based on the specific situation presented.

Any weapon could be potentially taken away and used against a woman. The Damsels market non-lethal weapons because the tools are quite effective. Spray an individual in the eyes with pepper spray and he will quickly forget about attacking you. One line of pepper spray even marks the perpetrator with ink that will not wash off for seven days. So, even if he manages to get away, he can easily be spotted and identified later.

Many survivors of violence support the Damsels in Defense mission and are now either loyal customers or Damsels themselves. These women know that the organization delivers a truly positive impact on women and their families.  Christy Dove Martin, a CSU alumni and proud Damsel, is walking proof.

When asked what excites Christy the most about Damsels in Defense, she said, “I love being able to share the mission. It is a Christian-based organization and Damsels give back to local, national and international charities that support women and children’s needs.”

She also enjoys empowering others with the information needed to keep themselves safe. Through building relationships with women all over the world, the goal is to lower the national statistics of assaults against women through education, training and support- one woman and one Empower Hour at a time.

To learn more, please follow the link to see all of the wonderful things Damsels in Defense are accomplishing.