Newsletter | October 5, 2018


The political events of the last few weeks have focused our national, neighborhood, and family conversations on sexual assault, abuse and harassment. Wherever you find yourself on the political spectrum, many report that this is an emotionally grueling time. It has been particularly triggering for those who have experienced sexual assault, harassment and abuse. And if you’re trying to figure out how best to talk to your children and teens (boys and girls) about these issues, it can be even more overwhelming. Yet, when current events provide the opportunity to start or continue important conversations with our children, we consider it a teachable moment.

This is indeed a teachable moment. We’ve put together this issue of our Institute News to provide food for thought, tips for conversations, and action steps you may want to take.

As you begin to dive into these resources, remember these life lessons for yourself and your children:

  • Your body is yours. You set the boundaries.
  • Learn to say, “No!” without apology.
  • Trust your gut.
  • Speak your truth.
  • Who are your trusted adults? Remember to go to them for non-judgmental support.
  • Build real, healthy relationships. Foster mutual respect, honesty, effective communication, trust, and equality.

With older children and teens, consider discussing the importance of consent, integrity and wise decision-making. Wishing you courage and wisdom as you engage with your children and teens during this teachable moment.

And, we look forward to seeing some of you on October 12 for our International Day of the Girl film screening of Beauty Bites Beast – a documentary from filmmaker Ellen Snortland. It’s a powerful film about the value of self-defense for girls and women around the world.

Dr. Melissa Johnson, Psychologist (PSY13102)
CEO & Founder of the Institute for Girls’ Development
Training Director, Professional and Post-Doctoral Training


We selected these two articles because they provide useful information on how to talk to your children and your teens about sexual assault.

Talking to Your Kids About Sexual Assault (From RAAIN)

What #MeToo Means to Teenagers (From the New York Times)


A Message from the President of APA, Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel

Traumatic memories stored differently in the brain, according to psychological research

WASHINGTON — Following is a statement by Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, regarding what the scientific research says about the reporting of sexual assault in light of the allegation by Christine Blasey Ford, PhD, with respect to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

“Sexual assault is likely the most under-reported crime in the United States. About two-thirds of female sexual assault victims do not report to the police, and many victims do not tell anyone. Sexual assault is a terrifying and humiliating experience. Women choose not to report for a variety of reasons — fear for their safety, being in shock, fear of not being believed, feeling embarrassed or ashamed, or expecting to be blamed.”

Read more here.


We’ve worked with two organizations over the years for self defense training. We’re providing information about both of them here to help you select the one to best meet your training needs. These courses will help you build awareness, assertiveness, and physical technique for self defense.

IMPACT: Recommended by our friend Ellen Snortland – writer, director and producer of Beauty Bites Beast

Self-Defense Classes

ESTEEM COMMUNICATION: Check out these tips from our friend Lauren Roselle, CEO of Esteem Communication.

Article: Assertive on the Street: What Would You Do?

Article: Should You Carry Pepper Spray?

Check out more self-defense resources here!

FIND YOUR STRENGTH: Looking for a self defense book for college women? We recently learned about this guide by local author Jodi Harrison-Lee.


Film Screening:

Friday, October 12, 2018,


In honor of International Day of the Girl, we’re hosting a special screening of the award-winning documentary Beauty Bites Beast – about the need to empower girls and women with self defense skills. The intended audience is teens 16+ and adults.


The film’s director, Ellen Snortland, and co-producer Ken Gruberman will be at the screening. There will be a lively Q&A and a mini self-defense workshop. Admission is $20 and includes light snacks. Join us!

Watch the trailer!

Learn more about the film at

Click here to register now!

For more event information, contact:

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