Interview of Sam Leah ― Resistance Radio

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Jensen: Hi, my name is Derrick Jensen, and this is Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network. My guest today is Sam Krop. She is an activist, writer, high school teacher, and the founder of a women’s self defense nonprofit called Warrior Sisters Society. She has presented numerous speeches on radical approaches to environmental and social justice activism and continues to incorporate these elements into her curriculum for her high-school students. Her organization, Warrior Sisters Society, is the only women’s self-defense nonprofit providing ongoing trainings and defensive materials to women.

Thank you for agreeing to be on the program.

Leah: Thank you for having me.

DJ: The first question is what is the Warrior Sisters Society?

SL: As you mentioned in the introduction, we describe ourselves as a women’s self-defense nonprofit. We’re based out of Eugene, Oregon, but we’d like to expand to other areas of the country and potentially the world, if we can get that big. What we do is we firstly train women in basic, reality-based self-defense techniques. And along with that we also do a lot of educational work, primarily letting people in the community know that women are training, which we’ve seen proven in past studies and in past examples, to work really effectively in stopping violence against women, just letting people know that women are prepared to fight back and defend themselves if they need to.

What we do right now is we’re running three programs in Eugene, one which is for women who are living at the Eugene Mission, one which is a co-ed training for high-school students in Springfield, Oregon, and one which is an open training for all women at a local community center. Each of these trainings is kind of geared toward the group of people that comes to them.

That’s what we’re doing right now. Along with the simple training in basic self-defense, we do a lot of training in basic confidence-building techniques, and we also have our own belt system, which is unique to our organization. Instead of handing out a blue belt or a green belt, what we do is hand out different defensive materials as women progress and show sound judgment and ability to do the different classes that we’re teaching them how to do, the different techniques.

So for instance, when they walk in the door they get handed an emergency whistle, which is just a simple whistle that you can attach to your keychain that’s extremely loud and really shrill and could effectively ward off a perpetrator or at least call attention to where you are.

Once women have been participating for a certain length of time, then we give them a defensive keychain, which is a key chain that you can set your fingers in and it has pretty sharp points and you can hold onto that when you’re walking in a place that you feel might be dangerous or use it when you need it. We keep doing that and as they progress they’ll get things like pepper spray and a stun gun.

That’s the unique program that we’ve created. Everything we do is geared toward women specifically. Even though we train high school students as well, that are co-ed, we are primarily built to serve the special needs of women.

DJ: This may be in some ways kind of an obvious question, or maybe it’s a question that only a guy could ask. Why are you doing this? Why do you train?

SL: Yeah. I think that while it is an obvious question with a simple, straightforward answer, I think there’s a lot more to it. I guess to put it simply we train because we live in a rape culture. That term is thrown around a lot, and we hear it a lot, and it means much more than I think it’s made out to mean when people use it really quickly and just move on. But I guess I’ll explain what I mean when I say that we live in a rape culture, which shows the reasons for why we train.

Firstly, I think, it’s important to look at the statistics. First of all, one in six women right now will be raped in her lifetime. That’s a horrifying fact. But one in three will be sexually assaulted. So that’s a full third of the female population that will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Sixty percent of assaults go unreported. I think that’s a very [low] estimate. A lot of people have guessed that more assaults go unreported than that . And 97% of rapists never spend a single day in jail. I think that’s a really telling one too because it goes to show how our justice system works and who it works in favor of.

Those statistics are thrown around a lot. I think if you’ve taken a basic women’s studies class, you’ve probably heard the majority of those. But it’s really hard, I think, to get a grasp of how this culture plays out in the lives of every woman, of every person, who’s living in it. Because of course those statistics, they’re not just numbers, they have names and they have faces, and each one is a life that was affected by that assault or that rape. I think that’s important to understand. What I oftentimes talk about with my high-school students and when I do other educational talks around these issues, I think that we should repeat these statistics again and again every single day to ourselves until we can internalize them fully, and then keep repeating them until they’re no longer true.

So that’s, I guess, one element of what a rape culture means. But of course another element is that it’s pervasive, and it’s in everything, every product that this culture creates—from movies which most often have a protagonist that’s male and won’t take no for an answer. Those are the favorites of Hollywood theater. And of course it’s in the jokes. My high-school students tell me jokes that make light of rape or coercion. It’s built into the very structure of our society.

Then of course what a rape culture really means is that every single one of my female friends has been subjected to some form of unwanted sexual contact. I’d say almost every one has a story to tell about some unspeakable horror that’s been committed against them.

I think that’s why we fight, that’s why we train, because we live in a rape culture. The reality is that this rape culture has been going on for a very, very long time. I think women have been fighting it for much longer than I’ve even been alive, but unfortunately it continues. We train because the work that’s been happening so far hasn’t been enough. Although there’s been amazing work done through generations to dismantle rape culture, we’re still seeing these statistics, we’re still seeing these horrifying facts, so we need to do something. We need to take measures into our own hands.

I guess I want to talk more specifically about Eugene because that’s where we’re based. There are some pretty interesting elements that go into the rape culture in Eugene, one of which is that Eugene consistently ranks above the national average in sexual assaults, and that’s been happening for decades now. This interview is actually pretty timely because I think last month there was a highly publicized rape that happened on the University of Oregon campus where the perpetrators were three basketball players who are still being named “alleged” rapists although they were proven to have had sexual intercourse at the same time with a woman who’s now claiming that she did not want that. That happened on the University of Oregon campus, and the University of Oregon was made aware of that occurrence, and they allowed the three basketball players to continue to play the most important games of the season. And they’re still not currently looking like they’re going to be facing even a court case at all for the allegations. So that’s happening right now.

The University of Oregon has a one percent expulsion rate for sexual assaults, and that’s kind of interesting when you compare it to other colleges that have 10 to 25 percent expulsion rates. Here at the U or O I think a lot of people would look at that and they would say that they must have a much safer campus. But I think what that really means, given this most recent court case and given the fact that Eugene consistently has some of the highest rates of sexual assault, I think what that number of one percent expulsion rate really means is that rape here goes unnoticed and unpunished, not that it doesn’t happen.

Case in point is that back in 2012 there were 39 cases of sexual assault reported at the U of O campus, which is obviously much less than actually occurred, and there was not a single expulsion due to those reports. So I guess that’s another reason we train, especially at the University of Oregon, because we’re sick of getting the alerts on our phones from the campus that say another sexual assault has happened, another rape has happened. Those consistent alerts wear down on you after a while.

Those are all cases in point proving why we live in a rape culture. I think it’s hard to argue that we do live in a rape culture. A lot of people have said that training isn’t necessarily effective in halting that culture. I think I’d like to address one particular recent University of Oregon study that actually came out came out this year that studied women who were attending a woman’s self-defense class on campus regularly for a semester, and it found that their attendance and participation in that class made them far less likely to experience rape and sexual assault, period.

That was just obviously one study, but I think we don’t really need a study to tell us that self-defense works. I think that’s pretty intuitive. I mean if someone is attacking you, if someone is threatening your family, you’re not just going to sit and wait until the threat is over or the attack is over and then report it later, you’re going to do what you can to defend yourself. You’re going to do everything you can to defend yourself.

We see training as a preventative measure. We see it as preventing sexual assault and rape. We see it as putting the matter back into our own hands, into the hands of women.

I guess the last reason that off the top of my head I can think of to prove why this is so important just comes from the words of the women that we’re training. One of them after the first few weeks of training said that she felt more confident and capable of just simply walking the streets—she lives at the mission so she’s constantly dealing with high-stress situations, high-threat situations—and she said that just a few weeks of training made her feel more confident and capable. Another person that we’re training, another woman, a high-school woman actually—she said to me, “Now I don’t have to walk around feeling so powerless.” I think that’s really why we train.

DJ: A couple of things. One of them is that whenever I think about rape culture, one of the things I think about a lot is this time I was on tour, and my plane was late getting into Moline, Illinois. I got in about 1:00 in the morning, and I got a ride to the hotel, and then it was about a mile walk down a long, deserted highway from the hotel to a Denny’s. I hadn’t eaten all day. I start out about 1:00, and I’m walking through this deserted McDonald’s parking lot, and there’s this white van in the parking lot that kind of sketches me out a little bit.

What I would do at talks sometimes is I would stop right there and talk about that right there as male privilege because I have the ability to walk through this and then get kind of scared about a van in a McDonald’sparking lot. And I would ask the women what you would do at that point, and always, the women would say, Are you kidding? We never would have left the hotel room at 1:00 in the morning. You know, I didn’t actually get scared until I went by this van as opposed to the notion of a lonely, deserted highway at 1:00 in the morning.

SL: Yes. That story is so typical of the experience of most women and the disparity between the experiences of women and men in this society. I guess that illustrates really beautifully why we focus specifically on women in our trainings. A lot of this isn’t an issue for men, at least not as acutely as it is for women.

Again, another statistic, and I know that statistics aren’t always the best way to articulate an idea, but I think this one is really important, that 99.7 percent of sexual-assault perpetrators are male, and nine out of ten victims are female. So what we’re seeing here isn’t a mistake and it’s not a fluke in the statistics. It’s a really clear fact that mostly, almost 100 percent of the time, males are the perpetrators of sexual violence, and 90 percent of the time females are the victims.

That’s kind of horrifying because what it really shows is that we live in a culture that’s training men to rape, women to be subordinate, and society as a whole to consider all of that normal and unavoidable. I think that’s an excellent example of what we’re dealing with right now and another reason why we train, and why we train women specifically.

It’s really interesting in a kind of scientific, objective way how society does this so immaculately, places women from birth into certain categories, whether those categories be housewife, or object of desire, or resource for reproductive exploitation, or just some tool for getting off, but never human. Gosh, that Andrea Dworkin quote comes into my head when I think about that, the one—I’m going to totally butcher it—when she says that woman is not born, she’s made, and in the making her humanity is destroyed. Then she goes on to say that she’s a symbol of this, a symbol of that, mother of this, slut of the universe, but she’s never human. She’s forbidden to be herself. She’s not allowed to do that. I think that’s what we’re dealing with. We’re dealing with a class called woman who are forced into every role but the role of being human. From birth, from the very, very beginning.

DJ: Can you talk, if you want to, a little bit more about the question of why the women- only training? What is the importance of having just a space and also a learning environment specifically aimed toward women? Okay, I’m going to ask this question, but don’t get mad at me because I’m asking this basically trying to throw you a softball. I’m not questioning it. Look, I want to take a class and learn self-defense too. Why are you people prejudiced against me?

SL: Yeah, that’s hilarious to me because it’s a typical, unfortunately, a typical question that we get, and, gosh, I wish I could remember where this happened, but there was a women’s self-defense group that just got protested pretty heavily by some men’s rights organizations for not opting to include men in the training. So yeah, this is definitely a real concern that we’re getting this criticism, but I guess what I’d say is that women are a class just as I said before. We don’t choose the class status, the secondary class status, but we are a class with individual needs, individual concerns, and therefore like any other social class, like people of color, we deserve autonomous space. We deserve to organize and train autonomously.

I think it’s really that simple, but more to the material point of it, why we need to do it this way, not just why we should be able to do it this way . . . we need to do it this way because almost 100 percent of the women who have been sexually assaulted were sexually assaulted at the hands of a male. What I mean by “hands” is in the most literal sense the hands, the physical hands of a male on them, hurting them, attacking them. And especially if that assault happens over and over again in a woman’s lifetime, those male hands get imprinted on her body, in her memory, and later on for so many women, the feel of male hands therefore is triggering.

Our training can make it real. We don’t just talk about things. We don’t lightly run through the motions of these scenarios. We really enact them. We are enacting chokes and grabs and hard holds and weapons, weapons disarmament. We use our voices. We’re loud. For so many women, they can’t be in the same room as men, after dealing with years of abuse. We’ve heard the stories from trainers who have watched women leave training because they can’t handle or just don’t want to handle training with men.

For women who’ve experienced sexual assault, forcing them to engage in physical, intense contact with men is kind of inhuman, it seems. So I think we want to provide those spaces because we are trying to serve women who have been underserved historically. And those women are the ones who have experienced sexual assault, who are in domestic abuse situations, who have been consistently shunned or silenced by the court system and not given space to be and organize and train with other woman by themselves without a male presence there. So that’s the class that we’re trying to serve with our training. Providing safe spaces for women who don’t have anywhere else to go is actually pretty foundational to the work that we do.

DJ: In developing this organization were you influenced by the Gulabi Gang? And what would you say some of the similarities and/or differences might be between you and them?

SL: Yes, I love the Gulabi Gang. I think they were actually one of the main inspirations for starting Warrior Sisters. I’ve been keeping up with them and their work for a long time and was amazed that a small group founded by one woman with a laathi, or a bamboo, stick was able to garner so much support. And now they have thousands of women who are actually enacting real material justice in these really core, really oppressive situations. So yes, they’re a major inspiration because I didn’t see anything like that happening in America.

I guess I just felt like it was really necessary to do something material and to do something direct in actually halting sexual violence. So yes, we’re inspired by them, but I don’t think that I can draw an incredible amount of similarities mostly because we’re so small right now. We just got started. I wouldn’t really be able to compare our tiny efforts to the amazingness that Sampat Pal and the Gulabi Gang have been. But I would like to be that effective. They operate on a strategy that we are attempting to operate on, which is two-pronged.

DJ: Wait, wait. Before you talk about the strategy, could you tell people what the Gulabi Gang is.

SL: Sure, that’s a good point. The Gulabi Gang is a gang of women in India. It was formed by Sampat Pal. They are also called the Pink Sari Gang. They operate in one of the poorest districts in the country. Some of the things that go on in that district are really rigid caste divisions. There’s a lot of female illiteracy. There’s a lot of domestic violence. There’s child labor, child marriages. There are dowry demands. A lot of really horrible situations. The Gulabi Gang was formed initially to punish oppressive husbands and fathers and brothers and oppressive male friends who were perpetrating domestic violence.

What they do and what they’ve done is they first accost male offenders and plead with them to see reason. That could be as simple as finding out that someone has perpetrated a horrible assault and going to their doorstep and holding them accountable verbally. A lot of what they do is showing up at their door and letting them know that women are watching, showing up and making them be accountable verbally. If the men refuse to see reason, if they refuse to listen or to apologize and relent, then what the Gulabi Gang will do is they will drag them into the street and hold them accountable publicly in front of their community and announce their crimes, which I think is excellent.

If the men resort to violence, the Gulabi Gang uses their laathis, or their bamboo sticks, to defend themselves and to also attack the men with them and make them pay physically for their assaults. They are keeping their eyes and ears out in the community, and they’re also training, how to use laathis, how to defend themselves. They’re building a really, really powerful, strong women’s movement that’s thousands and tens of thousands large right now.

DJ: Thank you. You were saying before that their strategy and your strategy . . .

SL: Yeah, I guess the biggest similarity between them and us, aside from the millions of differences, one being that they’re operating in a Third World country and we’re in America, where we wouldn’t be able to go attack perpetrators with laathis, unfortunately . . . but we are inspired by their strategy, which as I was saying is two-pronged. One is obviously training women, teaching them basic self-defense techniques, teaching them how to avoid really horrendous circumstances but if they get themselves in them, then to defend themselves.

That’s the first prong, but the second prong is really more about community awareness. I think I mentioned this a little bit earlier, but basically what they do is they just publicize their efforts, and they let people know that, hey, women are training, women are talking to each other. You can’t just get away with this kind of activity anymore because we’re going to hold you accountable. That seems to have worked a lot for them.

And it also reminds me . . . I’m going to jump across the world for a minute back to America because it reminds me of a study in Orlando where I actually went to school as an undergrad. This was in 1966 and ’67. There were outrageous rapes and sexual assaults in Orlando, Florida. The response from the local police force was to do a really well publicized training of women in arms. So they taught them how to use arms and how to disarm weapons. The word got out about it. As I said, it was really highly publicized, and the effect was that in the following year, in 1967, the rape rate in Orlando dropped by 88 percent. It didn’t drop anywhere else in the state or anywhere else in the country. The interesting part about that is that not a single woman that was trained had to use what she’d learned in reality. It seemed to be that the knowledge that women were training was enough to deter rapists by 88 percent.

That’s the second part of our strategy, to let people know that women are training, and women are watching. We’ve been doing a flieing campaign around Eugene where we just post these awesome posters of women kicking ass with the words, “Rapists be warned. Women are training. Women are watching.” We’re talking to each other, and if you hurt one of us, you welcome retribution from us all. We think that’s almost as important as training women in self-defense—is letting men know that they’re just not going to be able to get away with this stuff much longer, and if they do get away with it, it’s not going to be for long because we’re going to hold them accountable.

We like to call it an accountability campaign, and we’re just really getting started with it, but we did take inspiration from the Gulabi Gang, and hopefully it will be as effective as what they’re doing.

DJ: Are there other groups that you know of in the United States doing similar work to yours?

SL: Honestly, not that I know of. I looked into it a bit, and what I’ve come across are other organizations that are offering training for money, so paid women’s self-defense trainings. And I’ve also come across some that train women once in a while for free, so once a month. And they’re not made to suit a community that’s learning and growing together.

And I guess the other major difference is that I haven’t come across any other organizations offering free, ongoing trainings that are specifically for women and only women. Like I said before, we do co-ed trainings, and we intend to offer trainings for other groups that are high risk, but we focus on women, and we provide female-only trainings, which I have not come across anywhere else.

So aside from that , one of the other things that makes us really unique is that we have a background in krav maga and haganah, which are Israeli hand-to-hand combat martial arts. I think that those kinds of martial arts—I love them especially because I was raised Jewish and so it feels close to home for me—they are very simple and reality-based. There’s no honor involved. In a lot of martial arts you have shots that you don’t take because it’s not deemed honorable, but with us, we do what we need to do to defend ourselves. There’s no honor in saving your life. There’s no honor in protecting your body. So we don’t consider anything to be “cheap shots.” We scratch if we need to. We go for the eyes. We go for the jugular. We go for the nuts, all the time actually.

Our trainings are made to suit people who are smaller than their opponents, so it works really well for women, really well for small women like me, too. I wouldn’t be able to match most men in strength or in size or in brute force, but I can probably take them down with the skills that I’m learning in krav maga and haganah because it’s simple, straightforward pressure points, and there’s no honor involved like I said.

I personally think that this is the best kind of training for women. We operate on a cycle. We train one set of things. We start with combatives, which we call our tools. They’re just simple jabs, crosses, elbows, knees, and kicks. We start every single class with those. Then we go into scenarios—something you would be experiencing if you’re on the street. So it could be anything from hand-to hand situations where you’re being grabbed or choked or attacked from the side, or a weapons situation where you’re being held up with a gun or a knife from different angles.

We’ll spend six months running through all of our possible scenarios, and at the end of the six months, we do it again, from the very, very beginning. The goal with this, which I haven’t seen in any other self-defense classes, is repetition and muscle memory. We intend to have women participating in this for an indefinite amount of time because the longer you do it, the more these moves , and these responses become simply muscle memory, so you don’t have to think anymore if someone’s attacking you because obviously you can’t think if someone’s coming at you. You just have to act. We train for that. The immediate and intuitive response is one that’s going to save someone’s life. I have not seen that in any other women’s self-defense organization that’s free and ongoing. I think that, too, makes us pretty unique.

And then of course we have only women trainers. I’ve talked to a lot of women who’ve gone to women’s self-defense classes, and they’ve been trained by a man, and they immediately left because it just doesn’t really make sense to have that happen. We have only women trainers, and we only have women on our board, and we’re 100 percent volunteer-run. We don’t take any money for our own purposes. We’re not getting paid at this moment. Everything that we do is completely free. All of our trainings and all of our defensive materials that we give out like pepper spray and stun guns—all of that is absolutely free to everyone. So that’s how we’re unique.

DJ: How many women have you worked with so far?

SL: I’ll start with the co-ed classes, but that’s been going on for a while, and we’ve been consistently training 15 to 20 students every single week, the majority of which are female students, but we also train male students. Fifteen to 20 of them, and then at the Eugene Mission it’s highly fluctuating because women don’t live there [permanently]. People who live there are in and out. We’ve trained anywhere from . . . we’ll go to a class and there will be two women there, and we’ll do the training, and that will be wonderful. Or there will be eight or ten there. That highly fluctuates.

Our open trainings actually started two weeks ago. We’ve been having a few people trickling in. The hardest part has been getting the word out. When I was talking about rape culture before, it’s no secret that this is a really needed service for the community, especially in Eugene but really everywhere. But I think it takes a while to get your roots, and that’s what we’re doing now, with our open trainings at least. We’re trying to find the community that’s going to stick with us. And we’re trying to get grounded and get our roots so that we can grow up. All in all, counting everyone, I guess you could say that we have trained around 40 individuals.

DJ: On the smaller scale and also on a larger, cultural scale, what are you hoping to accomplish by doing this work?

SL: In an ideal world, we would end rape and sexual assault. But it even says in our statement of principles that we’re not fooling ourselves into believing that that this alone is going to end sexual assault. We recognize that it takes more than training. It takes a cultural effort, ideally, to end sexual assault and rape. Realistically, we want to create a strong community of women wherever we’re based who are knowledgeable in self-defense techniques, who are competent and feeling able to take care of themselves and to take care of their friends, and who are talking, who are connected.

I think one of the most horrific tools of rape culture is that it successfully isolates women. Each one of us when we’re sexually assaulted—and I say when because most of us are—each one of us, when that happens, we feel totally alone. We hardly ever talk about it. If we report it, it’s a miracle, but if we tell our friends about it, it’s also a miracle. It makes us feel alone in our pain and in the horrific events that are happening to us.

I think that’s indicative of what the society as a whole does. It isolates each person, each individual. Especially for women these acts are being perpetrated against us every single day, and yet we are told that it only is us, it must be our fault, we must be the only ones. I think one of our biggest goals is to break away from that, and to build a strong community, just like the Gulabi Gang, of women who are talking to each other, sharing their experiences, pointing out the perpetrators in their life, holding them accountable, and bringing other women in, and just kind of growing and staying strong and supporting each other, making people feel less alone.

DJ: How long have you been interested in women’s self-defense work? Have you been interested in it forever?

SL: No. It’s such a hard question to root activism back to somewhere in my life. I love the question because I have to talk about more than actually Warrior Sisters, but it’s also just really difficult to answer. When I think about it, I have to say no, I haven’t always been interested in women’s self-defense. And I definitely haven’t always been a feminist. At least I haven’t always considered myself a feminist, which is interesting to me, now that I’m so staunchly calling myself a feminist. I like to credit the origin of my interest in this work to the two religions that I was raised with, which is kind of funny because I’m not religious really at all right now.

I guess I could start with . . . I grew up in a Jewish home and I went to a Jewish school. My Hebrew name is derived from two of the matriarchs in the Jewish religion, two of the women who are considered the mothers of the religion. My entire life, starting when I was in kindergarten and probably before, I learned about my culture through stories of persecution and struggle. I was taught that my people always had to fight to survive.

When I grew older I started to research my family lineage and to try to put together a family tree, and I found that a large part of my grandfather’s side are completely missing. They vanished. Because of the Holocaust they are untraceable. Later when I was getting more into school and college, I learned that those who participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising had a higher rate of survival than those who didn’t fight back.

In a sense I always knew that self-defense was necessary. I always knew that struggle is necessary. So that was just kind of built in from childhood. I didn’t really apply that knowledge to feminism or activism until a lot later, and that’s what I would attribute to the Quaker religion, which is not one that I grew up with in my home, but one that I experienced almost every single summer. From seven years old all the way until I was almost 20, I went to the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, and I worked in a little Quaker community.

That’s where I learned what a healthy community actually means, what healthy interpersonal relationship actually means, what simplicity and respect for the land actually mean. That’s really when it became painfully clear that our culture is not healthy, and our culture doesn’t have healthy relationships, and our culture is living in a way that I would not call healthy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s actually kind of a succubus. It’s soul-sucking and resource-sucking.

That got me into environmental activism. It was a little bit later that I started recognizing that environmental activism and feminism are so incredibly linked, not just in the fact that both women and the natural world are getting exploited for their resources, but it’s the same imperative for domination and control that is controlling women and the environment at the same time.

I guess it took me a while to get up to that. A lot of Jewish background and the Quaker background formed the setting for what later became a real interest in actually making change. I’m a very rationally minded person sometimes, and I say that to mean that I sometimes have to sit down and just work through everything. After paying attention to the horrors that happen in society and paying attention to the soul-sucking nature of this culture and the stories of my friends and my sisters and trying to deal with the vastness of the problem that is this culture, I had to sit down and ask “ What can I do?” There has to be something material that I can do because it just seems too big, too ambiguous, too amorphous I guess I should say, too intangible for me to tackle in any effective way.

When I sat down and thought about it, I came to the idea that maybe a way I could make a material change is actually stopping sexual assault, is actually preventing it, and the way to do that is to teach women to stop it themselves, to actually defend themselves before it happens, not create counseling for them afterward, which is so needed, but to actually stop it before it happens. That’s really why Warrior Sisters started. It felt like a material step that I could take in the direction of the liberation of women from patriarchy.

DJ: We have just a minute or two left. If there’s anybody who is either in Eugene and is interested in learning self-defense or is elsewhere and is interested in trying to replicate your ideas in other places, what would you have them do?

SL: Awesome. If they’re in Eugene, I would have them contact me or Warrior Sisters. If they go to the website,, they can find all that contact information, and I check it every day, so I’d get back to them really quickly. They can also contact us through our Facebook, which is just Warrior Sister Society. We’d love to have them. We really would.

If they’re somewhere else and want start something up that’s similar, we’d also love to talk to them. We’re developing a curriculum that’s all our own, and we’d love to share it with women who want to do something similar. I would request that they contact us in a similar way via the website and we can start a conversation going because that would be our dream to expand these efforts to other areas.

DJ: Thank you so much for your work and thank you for being on the radio program today.

SL: Thank you.

DJ: I’d like to thank the listeners for listening. My guest today has been Sam Krop. This is Derrick Jensen for Resistance Radio on the Progressive Radio Network.

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