Guest Blog: IMPACT's Approach to Bystander Intervention

Dear Engaged Bystander: I am thrilled to announce that Meg Stone has agreed to be our first guest blogger next week. For those of you who may not know her, Meg is the executive director of IMPACT self defense. IMPACT is a unique self-defense class that teaches through the simulation of realistic assault scenarios. The instructors teach self defense techniques and then support the students as they practice their self-defense responses with an instructor wearing a fully body protective armor. Over the past three years, IMPACT has focused on engaging bystanders and empowering their students to speak up and act.

For a full description of their work, please visit their website.

I hope that you will enjoy Meg's perspective as much as I do!


Posting from Meg Stone, Executive Director of IMPACT

When I took my first IMPACT self-defense class in 2002 I expected the experience to change me. Several of my friends had raved about IMPACT--the ways it helped them heal from abuse, set boundaries with people close to them and feel safer as women living in a city. I didn't expect how deeply it changed me. It was as if my nervous system had been rewired and my new default setting was brave.

After taking this one workshop, IMPACT I became much more capable of talking directly and effectively, even when I felt fear. This was true whether I was dealing with a pushy salesperson, setting boundaries with abusive people in my life, or advocating for social change.

As I thought more about what I'd learned, I realized that the IMPACT training had given me what I needed to be a more effective bystander. Conversations in which we set positive expectations in response to joking, minimization, or abuse can be scary whether or not the person we're addressing is an actual threat to our physical safety. Knowing I can stay firm and focused no matter how loudly I hear my heart pounding allows me to step out further and advocate for healthy relationships and sexual respect.