Home Alive believes that stopping violence is a community responsibility.  The Continuum exercise solidifies this framing, and helps us break down the pieces of our broad conception of self defense.


A whiteboard or big sheet of paper and markers.  About ten minutes.


Make four big columns, and write across the top:


You can explain that In-The-Moment refers to how you actually defend yourself during a particular situation, physically or verbally, using various self defense tools.  Safety Planning includes the many steps you can take beforehand to increase your safety and well-being; Self Care involves how you recover from a difficult incident; and Organizing is about getting together with others to make something happen.

Take one of the four columns at a time and ask the group to supply specific examples.  Write them down for everyone to see.  Make sure people understand the importance of all four columns.  The four categories can really be drawn in a circle, as they all reinforce and flow into each other.

Be sure to emphasize the power of community organizing as a self defense tool.  After all, Home Alive started this way! Coming together with other dedicated people works wonders for breaking down the fear-based isolation of our culture’s response to violence, and sustains real movement towards change.

The Black Panther Party for Self Defense and the Sex Workers’ Bad Date List are two more examples of powerful and inspiring community organizations and institutions that have grown out of people coming together to create safety for their communities.  Can you think of others?