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Episode 056: Damsel in Defense
Episode 056: Damsel in Defense with special guest Jennifer Lester aka Stun Gun Jen
The New Year often brings new relationships and Leanne and The Boyfriend want you to be safe. They’re not just talking about safe sex. They’re talking about keeping you safe from any physical harm.
03:15 Meet Stun Gun Jen! Jen is an Independent Crystal Director with Damsel in Defense and dating expert. She found her second (and amazing) husband online, but BOY did she kiss a lot of frogs in her time.
Leanne met Jen about three years ago at a networking event in Huntington Beach, CA. She’s since been busy with her business, Damsel in Defense. Leanne mispronounces her business name as Damsel in Distress and Jen tells The Boyfriend NOT to edit that out because that’s exactly what her business is preventing. With Damsel in Defense you’re never in distress again.
Damsel in Defense equips, empowers, and educates people on self-defense. Jen offers at home empower hours, just like a good old-fashioned Tuperware parties. If you’re not comfortable carrying a weapon, that’s okay. They teach women how to be self aware, especially in the day and age of cell phones.
08:35 Social media changed things. We’ve become less aware of our surroundings as we have our nose in our phones. Whether or not you have any self-defense weapons or training, having situational awareness is so important.
10:13 The number one place women are attacked are grocery store parking lots. The time of day or night doesn’t matter. How we carry ourselves is important. Most attackers are looking for an easy target and for someone who won’t fight back. The less we look like an easy target, the safer we are. Just walking with some confidence can change that.
Jen points out that if we are grabbed, we should know how to get away from our attacker.
11:23 82% of assaults are by someone we already know. This is a whole different ball game.
11:33 Damsel offers FREE self-defense classes for women in Long Beach. It’s all about using your body and how to use it to get away. Jen is a mother of a two-time sexual assault survivor.
Survivor or victim. There’s a difference in how they see things. There are survivors of divorce and there are victims of divorce. If we can avoid the trauma in the first place, then they’re going to be able to live their best life.
What about when you know the person and you’ve been dating them? There’s a gray area and how do you know when you can do something? Jen shares the story of her daughter and how she stayed silent for four years. One of her attackers was a boyfriend who she had a sexual relationship with. That was part of the guilt and part of the non-report.
“If it is not okay with you, it is not okay period.”
It doesn’t have to be the socially acceptable. It has to be your acceptable.”
“You are always more valuable than somebody who tries to hurt you.”
Jen wishes her daughter had had the tools and the mindset to get out of her situation.
“We (women) are so self deprecating. If I wouldn’t say that to a friend, why would I say that to myself?”
When we’re dating, and they’re doing that to us. Don’t let them take away our power.
16:30 With today’s movements on sexual assaults, there seems to be a lot of gray area. We have an image in our mind that it’s violent or very dramatic so when it happens to us we worry that it’s not bad enough to classify as assault or that we did something to provoke it. We worry that it was our fault.
We’re worried about what society will think so we don’t speak up.
“It’s no longer about no, you are supposed to have to get a yes.”
So if you are saying no, no, no… then they should leave you alone. It is never the victim’s fault. Our society victim blames and shames all the time. Jen shares an example of how an officer told a woman that she shouldn’t have been wearing yoga pants. She had just come out of a gym. What else should she have been wearing? She was working out. Now the victim feels she was at fault.
Even now with the large number of women coming forward in the Me Too movement, society is picking and choosing, judging and shaming these women. Leanne expresses why she would have fear of coming forward.
24:15 Why didn’t I fight back? Jen explains that we have three possible responses to assault: fight, flight or freeze. When we freeze, it’s because our body shuts down and doesn’t know what to do. There are different levels of fear. When you go into the “black level”, our mind shuts off. It’s our body’s way of protecting us from trauma.
25:33 When it’s somebody you know there’s the element of surprise, then shame, guilt, and how’d I bring this on? Women tend to blame themselves. We question our own actions.
Even if you’re in the middle of being intimate, you have the right to say no.
27:30 One in five women in the US will be attacked in their lifetime. In reality, the numbers are much higher than that. This number is only based on what’s reported. Ninety-seven percent of rapist won’t serve a day in jail.
28:22 Jen is proactive and offers many ways to educate women on self-defense. Warrior workshops, lunch n learns, etc.
28:50 What about women who judge other women and think of them as weak? This is one of the biggest challenges we have. This is why Jen is so passionate about educating people. Sometimes women don’t give themselves value. They think rape is about sex rather than power. “Oh nobody’s going to rape me.” because they don’t feel attractive or young enough. Rape is about power. Older women especially would rather protect their granddaughters.
31:12 Just be prepared and know that you can get away. Jen gives a great example about wearing a seatbelt, having smoke detectors, and burglar alarms.
“A violent attack happens every 26 seconds in the United States.”
Jen has had a client who had no value for herself. Her client said she’d rather die than hurt an attacker. She’d rather have an attacker come in and surprise her then have her house alarm alert her.
34:00 What can you expect to learn from one of Jen’s classes? She does have a shorter class about awareness of surroundings. Her self-defense class is longer and is taught by second degree black belt or sexual assault crisis counselor – both women. In fact, there are no men allowed in the class so women feel comfortable. The free class is basics. Twice a year clinic -it’s a half day and it’s open to any age group. It will include drills where the attacker is actually on top of you. There is a lot of laughter. Often times, the laughter comes from trying something uncomfortable, but they do try to make it enjoyable while learning something serious.
37:11 We’re raised to be nice. We’re raised to be the one who keeps the peace and keeps a relationship together. When it comes to having that gut feeling that something is wrong. Don’t be afraid to say no, back off, or I’m not comfortable with authority. Even when a stranger approaches you in the parking lot to ask the time, you can say, “back off!” You don’t have to be nice.
39:40 To be clear, we are talking about NON-LETHAL weapons for the purpose of self-defense.
Jen shows Leanne and The Boyfriend her stun gun. They’re scared! Lol She also has a pen that can be used as a weapon…AND it collects DNA. She said these are great for people like realtors or in similar professions. Even with all these features, it looks like a regular pen. Many of the items can be used as a force multiplier. of the devices are designed to be used so the victim can get away from an attacker and call the police. The devices don’t even look like weapons. Attackers might hide a phone or an obvious weapon.
They do have personal alarms that kids (or people who don’t want to hurt someone) can carry. They are 120 decibel alarm. They have a clip rather than a key ring. This way it can be attached to a backpack, belt loop, or purse ring. It’s a good deterrent, but it may not save your life.
51:32 Restrooms are in the top three places where women are attacked. Be cautious and check the stalls for feet. Take note if you’ve been followed in by a man. Jen talks about other places that she feels uncomfortable – like hotel hallways.
54:35 Dating and being alone with someone for the first time can be fun, but potentially dangerous. When we get out of one unhealthy relationship, we often get right back into another.
It’s okay to stop dating for a while. Take a break! Don’t start dating until you take some time to yourself and find yourself again.
“Take time to get to know the person before you meet the person.”
Know where you’re going, have a plan, and let someone know where you’ll be. Check in with a friend or relative so they know you’re okay. Jen met her husband at a public place that she knew it would be very populated.
Note that drinking too much (or at all) on a first date can impair your judgement. Someone can very easily into your drink. It only takes a second. Jen doesn’t want you to be paranoid, but she does want you to be aware.
1:00:28 “82% of the people that harm us are people we know.”
Pay attention to you gut! Don’t worry about being nice.
1:01:35 What about men? They should use caution too. There are women who boil rabbits.
1:02:25 Are men better today? Is there less worry for the younger generation? No, there seems to be even less respect. Jen talks more in detail about social media. She’s observed a lesser amount of respect in the younger generation for their bodies. Rape and sex seem to be casual words for them. Some women give “it” not realizing the damage that it can cause them. Fourth and fifth graders are engaging in oral sex.
Damsel has a Safe Hearts line that educates children. They have a whole line of books that helps to open conversations with kids. The books were co-authored by professionals and victims. This line can be especially important for divorced parents as they begin to bring new people into their children’s life.
1:21:45 The way we communicate through new technology almost seems to dehumanize us. Human life has value.
Know that what you put on the internet or on your phone is not necessarily protected. It can be shared and stored other places. Jen gives example of what happened with her daughters Facebook photo. They were shared on porn/prostitute sites.
Be careful out there! You are valuable!
Question of the week: What safety precautions do you take on a first date?
Tweet: “A violent attack happens every 26 seconds in the United States.” ep 56 w/ @stungunjen #safety #dating #single #singlelife #selfcare #relationships #divorce #lifelafterdivorce #podcast
Tweet: “If it is not okay with you, it is not okay period.” ep 56 w/ @stungunjen
#relationships #divorce #dating #singlelife #podcast #singlemom #singledad #happiness #marriage #selfcare #love #metoo
Tweet: “We (women) are so self deprecating. If I wouldn’t say that to a friend, why would I say that to myself?” ep 56 w/ @stungunjen #relationships #divorce #dating #singlelife #podcast #singlemom #singledad #happiness #marriage #selfcare #love
Tweet: “Take time to get to know the person before you meet the person.” ep 56 w/ @stungunjen #relationships #divorce #dating #singlelife #podcast #singlemom #singledad #happiness #marriage #selfcare #love
Tweet: Be careful out there! You are valuable! ep 56 w/ @stungunjen #relationships #divorce #dating #singlelife #podcast #singlemom #singledad