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Why Do Women Take Self-Defense Classes?

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2010 Pages: 459-478
Jocelyn A. Hollander
Date Published
April 2010
20 pages
This study of women enrolled in university self-defense classes provided more systematic information about why women decide to enroll in self-defense classes.
Given the positive benefits of self-defense training for women, it is important to understand how women come to enroll in self-defense classes. Using data from a longitudinal study of university women, this study explored the reasons women give for taking a self-defense class. It found that friends' recommendations, visions of the "possible selves" they could become, and fear of violence were the most frequently reported reasons; having experienced a past assault was rarely cited as a reason for enrolling. In addition, many women who had never enrolled in a self-defense class reported having considered doing so. The study explored barriers to learning self-defense and find that logistical issues such as time, money, and availability of classes were the most frequently reported reasons for not enrolling. Tables and references (Published Abstract)