Healthworks is deeply committed to empowering women. One of the ways we express our commitment is by partnering with the Boston chapter of IMPACT International, an organization dedicated to teaching verbal and physical safety skills as part of a broad movement to prevent sexual assault and other types of violence. Each year, we host a free IMPACT self-defense class that teaches strategies that are effective regardless of size, age, or fitness level. We share IMPACT’s belief that everyone has the right to feel safe and we recognize the importance of having the skills you need to protect yourself. Don’t miss this important event in Copley Square on August 16.

For more information about IMPACT International go to


Meagan Anderson, IMPACT operations manager, has been a self-defense instructor for five years. Many people, she says, find that taking a class can be truly life-changing. “I think everyone deserves to feel confident and empowered as they go through their lives,” Meagan says. “They come out feeling like they are in control, and they can take up more space in the world. And that is what self-defense should give people.”


The goal, of course, is first to avoid an attack. IMPACT teaches the importance of being aware of what’s going on around you and communicating your boundaries.  

“I think everyone deserves to feel confident and empowered as they go through their lives,”

“Being aware of your environment–who is in it, whether you feel safe there, where the exits are–can help you be prepared if a potentially dangerous situation should arise,” Meagan says. “Often something as simple as moving away from a stranger who is making you feel nervous is enough to thwart an attack. Telling someone they are too close, or that you don’t want to talk…these are things that can let a potential attacker know that you are alert, aware, and are not someone they can catch off-guard.”

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Unfortunately, many attacks are perpetrated by someone familiar. “If you have a friend or are dating someone who is constantly dismissing you when you say you’re uncomfortable or don’t like something they are doing, it can be a sign that the person is not trustworthy or safe,” Meagan says.


The most well-known part of a self-defense class, of course, is the physical lesson. IMPACT teaches women how to use the strong parts of their bodies against the vulnerable parts of an attacker’s body–the head, eyes or groin. “No matter how large or muscular someone is, those parts of their bodies are inherent vulnerabilities,” Meagan says.


The realistic nature of the classes generates an adrenaline response that surprises many students, she says. They have shaking hands, a rapid heartbeat and nervous stomach after an exercise, allowing for a very effective practice in the same state in which victims find themselves.


For the same reason, IMPACT encourages students to practice skills until they no longer need to think about what they will do next. “Folks should feel free to come back to these classes as often as possible,” Meagan says. “In an actual attack situation, we don’t have the time to think about the moves we learned years ago. Those skills need to come back to us automatically, which is what repetition helps us accomplish.”

Meg Stone, the executive director of IMPACT, will be teaching the self-defense class in Boston’s Copley Square from 5:30-7 p.m. on August 16. It is free and open to everyone. Bring a friend and join the growing Healthworks community of empowered women at this important event. Keep in touch with this year’s event here on the Facebook page. 

Make sure to reserve your spot below!


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