True Shield®: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls

True Shield®: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls is a "verbal self-defense training in a box" licensed course for schools, colleges, institutions, organizations, self-defense associations, martial arts dojos, and companies committed to the empowerment of women and girls to say no, prevent assault and stop rape.

The old model is to teach physical self-defense.

The True Shield® new model is to use verbal self-defense first to prevent a physical attack.

stop rape on college campus with Verbal Self Defense

Stop sexual assault in schools. Stop college campus rape with simple self-defense techniques for girls

Course Overview

In this course we distill and simplify the process of verbal self-defense for each of the most precarious situations that girls will encounter with friends, family, teachers, boyfriends, colleagues and strangers. We will practice how to handle 10 of the most common difficult or dangerous scenarios a girl 12-24 will face

What it is

True Shield® unique verbal self-defense course that teaches young women 12-24 how to protect themselves verbally in life’s most difficult and dangerous situations and stay safe.

Why it Matters

When a young woman knows how to handle tricky situations she is less likely to become the victim of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

CJ ScarletThis program will save lives!

True Shield® is the most important training program I’ve found that teaches young women how to defend themselves in uncomfortable and downright dangerous encounters with predators. With 30 years’ experience as a victim advocate, I can confidently say this program will absolutely decrease violence by men against young women, by giving girls the tools and language they need to thwart attacks.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, females ages 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

I was molested and sexually assaulted as a teenager myself. I believe that if the True Shield™ program had been available to me when I was young and more vulnerable, I would have been a much tougher target for predators and would not have ultimately been victimized. This program will save lives!

~ CJ Scarlet, Criminal justice expert & author of The Badass Girl’s Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators

Verbal Self Defense

Preventing Sexual Assault on College Campuses

Who Cares

Educational institutions that want to lower the drop out rate of girls by decreasing bullying, pregnancy, PTSD, and stress. Verbal self-defense is the quickest, easiest, most cost-effective way to do that. When young girls know how to protect themselves it increases their confidence, self-esteem, and their grades.

Colleges that want to decrease rape and law suits for rapes committed on campus and protect their good reputation as a respected and safe school so parents won't hesitate to send their daughters.

Organizations committed to the empowerment and protection of young women that seek additional resources to enhance their existing programs. Adding verbal self-defense to the curriculum will draw in more program participants and help gain greater recognition and credibility for your organization. 

Female leaders who want to promote empowerment so girls can protect themselves in the most dangerous and difficult daily situations. Verbal self-defense is a skill that any girl can learn that will serve her in all areas of her life including getting and keeping a job, becoming a leader, creating a business, speaking out against injustice, and gaining confidence and self-esteem to do whatever it is she is called to do in this life.

Parents and grandparents who want their daughters to be able to speak up for themselves and other in any situation and stay safe. This verbal self-defense course shows girls and young women how to carry themselves with authority and be taken seriously by anyone. In today's world self-defense knowledge and implementation is not a luxury, it's a necessity.

Who is using True Shield®: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls?

Schools, shelters, outreach programs for at risk girls and organizations like the YWCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Girls Inc..

What's covered the course?

Overview. This is a 6-hour program that empowers young girls and marries the fundamentals of martial arts practice with practical application in today’s world. It teaches body awareness, centering, personal strength, how to command challenging situations, and manage unwanted attention - all through easy-to-learn intentional techniques.

What do situations do the scenarios cover? These scenarios span from someone being unkind right through to improper touching. We deal with everything from addressing inappropriate behavior to managing uninvited physical contact.

How does it work? The 6-hour program is divided into a number of components that shows young women both the verbal and physical ways to handle these challenging situations. All the participants role-play each scenario several times so they can freely experiment with their responses and continue to improve until they feel confident and able to hold their own.

It’s fast-paced, spirited, and enlivening. Which means that participants are standing up, moving, using their voices and bodies while role-playing realistic situations so that the teaching becomes embodied.

The 5 pillars of strength we focus on that we apply in each of the 10 scenarios are:

  1. Command presence.
  2. Solid stance.
  3. Speaking out.
  4. Making eye contact.
  5. Creating safe space.

The result? Through active and engaging repetition we are rewiring the victim default response and replacing it with confidence and know-how. By the end of the program you'll be able to observe both subtle and dramatic transformations in all the participants.

Title IX sexual harassment prevention

How it is Delivered

True Shield®: Verbal Self-Defense For Girls is a done-for-you self-defense “course in a box” complete package that includes facilitator’s guide, intake/outtake survey, video, FAQ, press release, contracts, flyer, follow-up materials + more, that anyone can follow, even with no prior teaching experience. There is a flat, annual licensing fee renewed yearly. You can have as many facilitators and train as many participants as you like. There is no limit. All materials are digital and downloadable.


By the time they are 12 most girls have experienced some kind of inappropriate touching, boundary crossing, or verbal or sexual assault.

It’s a fact that the majority of the participants will face these 10 most common dangerous or difficult situations, if they haven’t already. And the outcome of their experiences will be directly related to the amount of preparation they’ve had when they meet those situations.

This self-defense course gives girls a voice to protect themselves and others so they stay safe.

prevent sexual assault in school with self-defense techniques

Give girls the tools to prevent sexual assault + increase self-esteem

How This Verbal Self-Defense Course is Different

Our proprietary process is based on the principles of Aikido (Japanese Martial arts called “The way of harmony”) compassion, and on solid, time-tested communication skills created by a world-renowned media trainer and women's empowerment expert, teacher, best-selling author, former tennis pro and Aikido black belt.

This 6-hour verbal self-defense course can be delivered in one or two hour increments, or any increment you choose, over a time period that works best for you. It harnesses proven practices that show girls how to assess their options under stress and take instant action on the spot. The result is increased confidence, self-esteem and motivation.

Prevent bullying, harassment and assault

What are the girls saying?

Esmerelda Castillo CobianIt was really important for me to have a space where we can talk about our experiences as a way to empower ourselves.

I really enjoyed the True Shield®Verbal Self Defense Training. One of the things that stood out to me the most were the important conversations that occurred as a result of the scenarios. In particular, it was really important for me to have a space where, women especially, can talk about our experiences as a way to empower ourselves.

~ Esmerelda Castillo Cobian, Latina Achievement Support Program Assistant, (leader/teacher) YWCA Boulder County, age 22

Ridi MirandaIt felt empowering to learn new ways to protect myself

I thought the program was incredibly useful and easy to understand. It felt empowering to learn new ways to protect myself and I gained more confidence as well.

~ Ridi Miranda, Latina Achievement Support Program Assistant, (leader/teacher) YWCA Boulder County, age 21



self-defense techniques for girls

learning verbal self-defense gives a girl higher self-esteem + confidence

"I can always stand up for myself verbally instead of physically." Age 15

"I learned how to be firm and not to back down." Age 13

"Saying no is OK." Age 12

"I got that there are a lot of ways to say no to many different situations and that’s helpful. Even if it’s small you can say no. Because so many people don’t know how to say no strongly. And then people don’t take you seriously." Age 15

"I now know how to say no without offending anyone. At least not a lot." Age 14

"I learned that there’s more than just being firm in getting your point across, more than just words. Like body language." Age 14

Self-defense for young women

Self-defense for teens

What's Included in

Verbal Self-Defense Training in a Box?"

  1. Facilitator's guide. The guide gives you everything you need to run the self-defense course for girls. The exact scripts to use for every scenario, the timing, the tools. You don't need to do anything, but read it out loud and follow each of steps which are explained in detail. You don't need any prior teacher training either. I have mapped out what to look for to insure improvement, ways to positively reinforce behavior, and how to handle difficulties that may arise. Enjoy having it all done for you.
  2. Video. This video shows the exercises or techniques that include movement that are not self-explanatory (11 minutes). Any explanation that benefits from a visual example is included in easy-to-follow detail (like escape from grabs — which use effective self-defense techniques that any participant can perform). You don't need any martial arts, mediation, or self-defense training to carry out the course. Just watch the video and familiarize yourself with content of the course and the moves and you'll be all set.
  3. Survey. We have a quick 5-question automated online survey integrated into the facilitators guide. You simply have the girls pull out their phones and take the survey before and after the course. We will get an instant read on how well they progressed. In addition we'll gather measurable evidence-based results that will assist you in getting or keeping funding or sponsorship.
  4. FAQ. I've provided the answers to over 100 questions! So you'll be completely prepared for anything that is likely to come up. If you encounter a question I haven't covered just post it in the private Facebook group for facilitators and I'll address it ASAP.
  5. Press release. Just insert the name of you and/or your organization in the fill in the blank done-for-you template and send it off to the media to get immediate attention for your school, organization or community on radio, TV, print, and the Internet (blogs, social media etc.).
  6. Social media viralizer. Inside your facilitator's guide I've included ways to make posting on social media simple for the girls during the breaks so that the course will promote itself while reinforcing and rewarding the girl's pride and accomplishments.
  7. Social media promotion. I provide commercial creative commons images, hashtags and text so you can increase excitement, anticipation and enrollment for the self-defense training for girls.
  8. Handout. I have created a quick look list of all of the scenarios and scripts so that the course participants can review the scenarios after the training.
  9. E-Book. I wrote this before I created the course. It covers cyber-bullying, how to get an internship or job, ways to ask for privacy from your parents and more. You can use this to complement and extend the participant's learning from the course.
  10. Dojo list. If the participants want to deepen their learning they are invited to train in local Aikido dojos or other martial arts disciplines to increase their physical confidence and mental focus on this one-sheet.
  11. Flyer/brochure. If you'd like to post a quick summary of the course or send it digitally to anyone in advance of the course date you can. We provide both the PDF and Microsoft word versions of the document so you can personalize it accordingly.
  12. Certificate of Completion. You'll be able to award each participant a personal certificate of completion that's visible and vibrant proof of her accomplishment so she can remind herself of how powerful she is whenever she needs it.
  13. Private Facebook group for facilitators. I've created a private Facebook group for facilitators should you have any questions, comments, challenges, suggestions or successes. We have a community to support and grow your teaching.
  14. Private Facebook group for participants. This is a place where participants can share photos, videos, songs, scripts and experiences so they can bond, cheer each other on, imprint new behaviors, and continue their learnings from one another.
  15. Overview. A comprehensive and quick one-page explanation of the entire verbal self-defense course for girls in a nutshell.
  16. Contracts. All the necessary contracts are included so we have a smooth and simple way to implement the training in your organization instantly. If you'd like to become a licensor of our content we are all set for that as well.
  17. Your License. Your licensing fee, created to be affordable for any organization of any size, is a flat, annual licensing fee renewed yearly. You can have as many facilitators and teach as many participants as you like. There is no limit. If anything changes after the first year your license will be edited accordingly to accommodate your needs. Every year we will be adding new scenarios. So you can re-train participants who have taken the course and/or run them through just the new scenarios.

                                 All materials are digital + downloadable.

                                         You can access them at any time.


  1. Do you teach the course for us. No. We wish we could be everywhere at once! And this program is set up so as many people as possible can use it anywhere in the world. Everything you need to facilitate the course from start to finish, including advertising it to your students, members, or the public, is included. It's a virtual course in a box that can be downloaded instantly and available for use immediately.
  2. Do you come to our facility to train us. No. The training kit is complete and ready for you to use it after reading through the materials and watching the video. We give you the exact wording to say, explicitly explain what to do, how to conduct yourself, give feedback, and run the course so the participants learn quickly, easily and well.
  3. If we need help or have questions can we call or email you. We'd love to hear from you! You may post as many questions or comments at any time in the private Facebook group and we'll answer them ASAP.
  4. Can we have an exclusive license for our geographical area. If this is something that's important to you please let us know and we'll address each request on a case by case basis.
  5. Am I allowed to teach the course at various places in my city or country/worldwide. Yes. And that would be a separate and different license. Please contact us and we'll arrange.
  6. Can I train others on your materials. You may train as may facilitators as you like within your school or organization, no limit. If you'd like to train others in addition, it is a separate and different licensing agreement. Please contact us and we'll arrange.
  7. Would you give me a discount for the second year and the years thereafter. We have made the yearly licensing fee affordable for most schools/organizations. Plus, every year we will have improved the course based on your feedback, and will also have provided new scenarios for you to use. So the second and subsequent years will be even more valuable to your participants. If you need additional funding we may be able to put you in touch with funding, donors or sponsors. Please let us know and we'll do our best.
  8. Can I add in my own scenarios and customize the course to my audience. You may send in your recommendations at any time to the private Facebook group where we'll review them. Once we approve them you are free to use them as you see fit. Any ideas or scenarios you submit become our sole property to use in any subsequent licensing arrangements—which is explained and included in our original licensing agreement.
  9. Am I allowed to give away the course to a needy cause or organization. No. They would need to purchase their own license. Feel free to put them in contact with us so we can do our best to accommodate them as we want them to have these materials as much as you do — and will make every effort to make that possible.
  10. I have boys in my class and I'd like to include them. At this time the course is for girls only. We are working on a very different course for boys. So we'll let you know as soon as that is available.
  11. I'd like to purchase the course for my entire school district/organization. Do you give discounts. Yes. We have a tiered fee structure. Please ask and we'll give you a special coupon code to use at the shopping cart check out that will automatically process your savings.
  12. Can I write you a check vs. going through your online system. Yes. Email me and we will send you instructions.
  13. I'm a teacher and I'd like to present your course at professional development days. Is that possible. Yes! We have a presentation, follow-up materials, scripts and more that you can use so you have everything you need to be successful. Also, we provide a generous commission so you can supplement your salary. Let's chat!
  14. I'm a teacher and I'd like to train other teachers in a different school district so this training will spread faster. We love that! We have a license for that as well. Please ping us.
  15. Can teens and college students teach this course. That would be amazing! It's part of my big dream to have girls train each other so this is ideal. They are considered facilitators and can access the materials like any other facilitator.
  16. Can we include transgendered girls in the program. Absolutely. It is for anyone who considers herself a female.
  17. Can we train girls younger than 12. While a number of the situations are for more mature girls there are some that will work for younger girls.
  18. Would this program be effective for domestic violence shelters or shelters that aid victims of sexual slavery. Yes. We support the education, health and safety of women and girls at risk.
  19. Is the verbal self-defense program evidence based. We created a quick 5 question before and after survey that can easily be completed by the girls on their phones so we are accumulating the results of that data and it will be available soon.
  20. Can home schoolers use the program. Yes. It is available to everyone who wants it.
  21. I'd like to give a grant or become a sponsor. What is the best way to proceed. True Shield™ is a fiscally sponsored project of MarinLink, a California non profit corporation exempt from federal tax under section 501 (c) (3 ) of the Internal Revenue Service #20-0879422. You are welcome to donate here. Our project name is "True Shield."
  22. May I make a donation to support a school or organization that can't afford the program. Yes please. Go here and enter "True Shield" into the project name field. Your contribution is tax deductible.

True Shield™

Verbal Self-Defense for Girls


per year.

You can have as many facilitators and teach as many participants as you like.

There is no limit!


Renewable Yearly

Other Payment Methods Are Available Upon Request

Creator of The True Shield™ Verbal Self-Defense Course

If you have any questions I'd be delighted to answer them 
Just choose a time and we'll connect

Susan Harrow (me!) is a black belt in Aikido, a former tennis pro with a high school teaching credential and author of the best-selling book, Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins). I've been certified in a behavior based screening technique called Targeted Selection Interviewing (TSI) where I interviewed 1,500 job candidates as a consultant for Pacific Bell Directory/SBC/AT&T for nearly 10 years and put 3,000 of them through role plays analyzing their body language, vocabulary and subtle facial cues to determine if they had the chops to work in high-pressure sales or C-Suite positions.

For the past 31 years I've run Harrow Communications, a media consultancy, where I've media trained everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs to prepare them for TV, radio and print interviews on CBS’ 60 Minutes, CNN, Fox News, GMA, NPR, The New York Times, WSJ, O, Vanity Fair, Parade, People, Inc., Fortune, etc. This verbal self-defense course comes out of my deep desire to empower girls to speak their mind, stand their ground, sing their song. Read my manifesto. I love to curl up with a good mystery and a bar of dark chocolate. What you might not know about me is that I was almost sold into slavery to a Bedouin Sheik in Israel for 10 camels and a mule.

True Shield is a fiscally sponsored project of MarinLink, a California non profit corporation exempt from federal tax under section 501 (c) (3 ) of the Internal Revenue Service #20-0879422.

MarinLINK promotes and sponsors community-based projects in the Arts, Community, Education, Environment, and Health.