One of the occupational hazards to being a speaker/author about women’s safety and self-defense is the incredible amount of stories I hear every year about terrible things that have happened. It’s like the minute I share with someone what I do for a living, the flood gates open and the women I meet are so relieved to talk about their stories that they carry with them. Earlier today I got a mani/pedi and tried out a new salon. The woman from Malaysia who was working on my nails asked what I did for a living, and I told her all about Girls Fight Back. She then told her story about always wanting to be a real estate agent and taking all the exams, but was unable to chase her dream out of fear of showing properties to men she didn’t know. What many people don’t realize is that violence keeps our entire society down. Sometimes because of the things that DO happen, which leave us traumatized. And sometimes because of all the things that DON’T happen, just because we are too terrified to try. It’s my personal mission that we stop making choices stemming from fear. Instead, we need to get educated…get empowered…and be ready to boldly walk down the path we were intended to.