Statement of Principles
All directors, volunteers, and staff agree to uphold and promote the following in all of their actions on behalf of the organization.
Our services are...
Comprehensive. Rather than only providing physical skills like many other programs and schools, WS trainings provides a comprehensive range of tools including verbal skills, awareness training, boundary-setting, confidence-building, de-escalation, and more - in addition to our physical skills training.
Judgement-free. We believe that no woman deserves, invites, or “asks” to be assaulted regardless of her personal choices, clothing choice, sexual history, or any other factor. We reject the victim-blaming idea that anyone asks or deserves to be assaulted, or that their actions or inactions make them responsible for an assault. We believe that any choice a woman makes in a self defense situation is a valid choice. Whether a woman chooses not to defend herself or is rendered incapable of acting in her own defense, an assault is never her fault. We do not pass judgement on women for their actions or inactions. The only person at fault for an assault is the perpetrator.
Empowerment-based. We believe in training that expands options rather than limiting them. Our self defense trainings provide women with a variety of tools for defending their personal safety and security. We do not promote self defense frameworks that tell women what they can and cannot do (i.e. don't go out at night alone, don't carry a purse, etc.). We may tell our participants which practices tend to be safer, but the decision for how best to keep herself safe always lies with the individual.
Women-centered. We believe that strong women's communities are a vital element of assault prevention. We are dedicated to building these communities through discussion, sharing of stories, mutual support, and respect. We believe that women deserve training that is geared toward the specific experiences of oppression, exploitation, and harassment that women as a class face.
Free of cost. We believe that training should be available to women regardless of their economic status. All WS chapters and trainers are required to hold the provision of training that is free of cost as their top priority. However, many of our chapters also provide private trainings for groups and organizations for sliding scale donations.
Anti-oppressive. We believe that training should prioritize the needs of those who are at an even higher risk of violence. We commit to prioritizing our services to women who are further marginalized by racism, homophobia, or other systemic forms of oppression.
Trauma-informed. We believe that self-defense training should not only take into account, but actively prioritize the needs of women who have experienced trauma. Every WS training is begun with a reminder that no participant is required or expected to do anything that is uncomfortable for them, and that each participant can step back, pass, or take a break at any point.
Accessible. We believe that self-defense training should be useful and accessible to women regardless of prior experience, fitness level, body type, ability or disability. Our trainers are always ready to adapt our curriculum to the needs of participants. Beginners are always welcome and prioritized, and no participant will ever be singled out or made to feel inadequate for their body or ability level.
Confidential. We ask only for the information about you that you're comfortable giving us. We are not mandated reporters of abuse; anything and everything you share in class will be considered confidential by our trainers.