The Official Newsletter of
Helping women to create a safer society.

The views expressed in the Fisted Rose are not necessarily the views of AWSDA.  The editorial staff encourages a provocative discussion about women's self defense, and we hope to provoke discussion among AWSDA members by publishing articles that reflect different insights and diverse ideas.  In addition, the products, books, videos and tools featured, identified or reviewed in The Fisted Rose are not necessarily endorsed or approved by AWSDA.
Jessica Peterson Tierney
Hi, Everyone!  

Summer is a great time to schedule a self-defense class for all the young women who will be heading off to college in the fall.  Go to our website at to find an instructor close to you!

We would like you all to welcome our newest AWSDA board member, Ria Punzalan!  Ria is with SpitFire Krav Maga in Illinois, and is taking on the role of Education Director for the board.  You can click HERE and check out her Facebook page.

The Board is working to put together an awesome annual self-defense training!  Mark your calendars for Sepember 21 - 24 and get ready to join us in Albuquerque, NM.  Hope to see you there!

Focusing on Elder Abuse  
Andy Marso, Kansas City Star
Kathy Greenlee and Derek Schmidt run in different political circles, but they have a similar message on elder abuse: We need to do more to stop it from happening outside of nursing homes.

Schmidt, a Republican who is the Kansas attorney general, is joining other attorneys general in asking the federal government for more authority to investigate elder abuse outside of care facilities.  Greenlee, a former Obama administration official, is using her new position with the Center for Practical Bioethics to enlist community groups and financial institutions to keep an eye out for it.

"Most abuse happens in the community, because that's where most of the people live," Greenlee said.  "I have talked to people who made the mistake of thinking that the only abuse occurs when you're in a nursing home or another congregate setting, and that's not true."

Greenlee said one in ten Americans over 65 who live at home are abused physically, sexually, or financially.  Federal regulations only allow state Medicaid Fraud Control Units to go after suspected abuse in health care and nursing facilities, even though Medicaid also pays for in-home caregivers who can be abusers.

As president-elect of the National Association of Attorneys General, Schmidt co-wrote a letter to Tom Price, the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, asking that fraud units be turned loose to investigate and prosecute elder abuse wherever it occurs.  Schmidt said the Medicaid Fraud Control Units are a "force multiplier" that is especially important to smaller states because the federal government picks up a large portion of their costs.

He helped push through stiffer penalties for elder abuse in Kansas in 2014 and set up a new fraud and abuse division within his department.  But the state-funded division has only two prosecutors and one officer.  The Kansas MFCU has slots for four prosecutors, six or seven officers, and two or three research analysts.

"It's a potent tool, and we just want to be able to use it to the fullest extent we can," Schmidt said.

Greenlee, who served as assistant secretary for aging under President Barack Obama, is now looking for elder abuse solutions outside the government.  She is speaking at the Jewish Community Campus in Overland Park on Thursday and said she wants to discuss how faith-based organizations can keep senior engaged with the community.  If they become socially isolated, it increases the chance that they will be abused.

"This is what I think pastoral care is for older people," Greenlee said.  "To remain engaged."  Greenlee said she is planning to have Adult Protective Services workers from both Missouri and Kansas at the presentation to help explain what they do and how community members can report suspected abuse.  

Seniors who live at home are vulnerable to abuse from paid caregivers or family members.  "Family caregivers are still the backbone in the long-term care system in our country," Greelee said.  "We need family caregivers to continue to do the work.  But we cannot be naive in thinking that all families are functional and healthy and supportive of older people.  That's not true."

Greenlee said that when she worked as the ombudsman for long-term care in Kansas state government from 2004 - 2006, she saw family members steal money from older people to buy things like boats.  She also saw family members hoard an older person's money to bulk up the future inheritance even as the senior suffered.  She said that since joining the Center for Practical Bioethics in November, she's contacted banks and investment firms to talk about how to spot financial abuse and intervene on behalf of their customers.

"I would say I've seen progress with that community coming to the table," Greenlee said.  "That's an entire multilayered industry that can be deployed as an asset on behalf of people to provide protection, but it's very complicated...I think some of them have their eyes open, and some don't."

It will take more than banks, churches, and synagogues to protect elder from abuse, Greenlee said.  There's a pervasive "age-ism" in society that she said tends to keep older people from being integrated in communities.  That's dangerous.

"If older people are hidden and not seen, elder abuse will be as well," Greenlee said.

To read the article in it's original format, click HERE.  

Why Ask Why?  The Question to Avoid.
Clint Cloys, Circle City Safety
Why?  It's a thought provoking question that has inspired mankind to do amazing things.  It is this question alone that has caused some of the greatest men and women of history to strive for the extraordinary.  It is truly a powerful question and an even more powerful motivator...and it has absolutely NO place in self-defense.  Actually, more precisely, it has no place in the events leading up to and including a violent attack.

What do I mean?  Well, remember that the three goals of self-defense are avoid, escape, and survive.  So, let's look at avoidance first.  If you think you are being followed or you see a person or persons up ahead of you that look suspicious, or you see a suspicious van or vehicle parked next to your car in a darkened parking lot, you shouldn't be thinking, "Why are the following me?" or "Why are they up there?" or "Why is that van there?"  You should simply avoid the situation to the best of your ability.  The "why" is, literally, irrelevant to the task of avoidance.  It serves no purpose and can actually cause hesitation that eats up precious time that could be used for action and response.  Again, if you think you're being followed and you continue to walk while thinking about why he is following you, you may miss an opportunity to get to safety or you may rationalize that he is not following you and just happens to be going in the same direction and you will not act.  It MAY be true that he isn't following you, but it doesn't hurt to go into a public place, change direction to confirm your suspicion, or any other tactic that can help you avoid the possibility that he could be following.  Never underestimate trusting your instincts.  Either way, "why" shouldn't factor in.

Now, if you are looking at the escaping and surviving aspects of self-defense, "why" can be even more detrimental.  I'm talking about when an assault is actively occurring.  In this instance, "why" can literally get you killed.  If you are being attacked and you concern yourself with why you are being attacked, you will increase the odds of freezing and not responding appropriately to the situation.  I've seen a number of fights where the one person is asking, out loud, "Why are you doing this to me?" while being assaulted.  This should be nowhere near the front of your mind.  At this point, it doesn't matter.  When it comes to sexual assault, this is even more important, but even harder to do.  If you consider the statistic that almost 80% of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, you can see that it can be difficult to avoid focusing on "why".  If the family-man down the street or that office worker that you've gone on a couple of dates with or your friend's brother is suddenly assaulting you, it's VERY easy to fall into the "why" trap and end up not being able to respond to the scenario.

You may ask, then, if "why" isn't important, then what should I focus on?  Well, that's the easy part.  You only need to focus on "when" and "what".  "When" is easy.  It's always now.  When are you being followed?  Now.  When are you being assaulted or attacked?  Now.  I mean, if you KNEW that you were going to be attacked on January 13th at midnight at Place X, then the BEST self-defense is not to be at Place X at midnight on January 13th!  Unfortunately, we don't have clairvoyance, so foresight is not one of our self-defense attributes.  So then the answer to "when" is "now".  The "what" of the situation is just as simple, it's just that it is different in every situation.  If you're being followed, then the "what" is "being followed".  If you're being grabbed, then the "what" is "being grabbed", and so on and so on.  So if I take the scenario: Someone I know is assaulting me, I am ONLY concerned with "being assaulted NOW" and I will respond accordingly.  I cannot and must not concern myself with "why is this person assaulting me?"  At that point, it doesn't matter.  If I stop to ask myself "why" then this may give my attacker the time he needs to continue or complete what he is wanting to do.

Now, "why" does have a place when considering the whole self-defense package, but it all has to do with the aftermath of the attack.  Firstly, the police will care about "why".  They may ask why you did whatever you did to defend yourself.  They will want to know why the attacker did what he did.  They will want to know why he chose you.  Next, the court system cares about "why".  Prosecutors are obligated to prove the motive, or "why" of the attack.  They will demonstrate to a jury why he is guilty or demonstrate to the person why he should take a plea bargain.  Last, but not least, "why" will play heavily on the mental side of the healing process.  You may ask yourself questions like "Why was I attacked?" or "Why did this happen to me?"  Also, if you knew your attacker, this will add a whole new level of "why" questions like "Why did I not see this coming?" or "Why did he do this to me when he knows me?"  While questions like this are difficult and painful to ponder and necessary for recovery, you must remember a few things.  Firstly, you should seek help and counseling through someone you feel comfortable with.  Sometimes even talking to a trusted friend or relative can really jump start the healing process.  Second is that you must NEVER blame yourself.  He attacked you because he has the problem, not you.  This is very important.  DO NOT turn the blame to yourself.  Lastly, if there is anything you can learn or take away from your ordeal, please do so.  Being attacked is a very terrible and traumatic thing, so ANY positive aspect you can get from it, you absolutely should.

Please remember, also, that this is just a part or self-defense.  Your awareness always needs to come into play.  You don't want to be paranoid and respond offensively every time you're grabbed or surprised.  Trust your instincts and awareness and let the situation dictate your action.  But, if your instincts signal danger or you are attacked, please remember that the last thing that should ever come to mind is "why".

Stay safe!

To read the article in its original format, click HERE.

National Safety Month
Self-defense is all about keeping yourself safe.  Most of the time, we're thinking about predators and violent crime.  But there are lots of other dangers in the world too, and we want you to be safe from all of them!

June is National Safety Month.  Injuries are a leading cause of disability for people of all ages - and they are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44.  But there are many things people can do to stay safe and prevent injuries.

To learn more about National Safety Month, first visit the National Safety Council by clicking HERE.

Then you can get involved by clicking HERE and getting all kinds of sample tweets, media releases, and tons of other shareable information.  Stay safe!