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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

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Introductory Self-Defense Classes

 

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WomenStrength self-defense classes are designed to introduce teenage and adult women to a variety of strategies, including some survival level fighting skills, designed to help defend against sexual assault. The Portland Police Bureau believes that fighting can be an effective response to the threat of sexual assault.

Class activities and discussion are designed to help women identify their risks and evaluate their strengths, and to explore their options for dealing with the threat of sexual violence. Class activities focus on practicing verbal and physical strategies. Discussion topics focus on sexual and domestic violence.

WomenStrength emphasizes that each threat must be assessed quickly. Research on women's experiences indicates that the likelihood of escaping a sexual assault increases with the number of escape strategies employed. Women who choose to fight are encouraged to use the element of surprise to their advantage. Because physical self-defense will be most effective if vulnerable areas of the body are targeted, some of the skills taught include multiple strikes to those areas, as well as escapes from choke holds, body grabs, and wrist grasps, and defense techniques from the ground.

WomenStrength participants are encouraged to maintain their skills by using visualization, practicing, attending refresher classes, and to improve and diversify their skills by pursuing additional training from other self-defense programs.

Participants: We welcome all people who identify as women. Classes are open to ages 13 and above. Young women under 16 need to be accompanied by a participating adult. Younger people may also be interested in our sister program, GirlStrength, which offers classes from 10-17 years of age. Learn more about GirlStrength here: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/girlstrength

  • Please fill out our online registration form or call 503-823-0260 on or after the registration date listed for each month.
  • Please plan to attend all three sessions at the location you select.
  • Please cancel your registration before the first session if you cannot attend all three sessions.
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TO SIGNUP FOR A VIRTUAL CLASS, PLEASE EMAIL ws@portlandoregon.gov AND WE WILL TELL YOU WHAT CLASSES WE HAVE COMING UP.