Rights Consciousness and Victimization Prevention: Personal Defense and Assertiveness Training


Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.


In personal defense and assertiveness training women learn how to avoid being victimized. The actual behaviors the students learn are not very novel. What is novel for them is engaging in those behaviors in situations where they previously felt afraid or felt they had no right to resist someone else's requests or demands. As they practice the new behaviors, they also reassess their rights and learn to identify intrusions, potential assaults, or violations of their will. They develop an awareness of rights they had not previously felt were theirs—rights of refusal in particular.