Dianne Buffington was in her home leading a women’s discussion group through SowJoy Ministries in Missouri, an outreach program she founded to help empower women as they work through struggles such as poverty and violence.

“This one woman’s abusive boyfriend was not happy she was coming to the classes,” Buffington stated.

A noise coming from outside interrupted the conversation.

“One of the participants said, ‘Dianne, there is someone trying to get in this door,’ ” Buffington said.

Having taken a course in defending oneself during a home invasion, Buffington was quick to develop a plan. She gave each woman a specific task, called for her husband, Mark Buffington, to come downstairs, and then went outside to assess the situation.

Buffington laughs when she tells the story, but that doesn’t mean she feels silly. Rather, she is proud of the efficiency and expediency with which she and her visitors were able to prepare for action. Had the situation been more dangerous, Buffington is confident they would have been able to protect themselves.

Although the term “self-defense” might conjure images of karate classes and pepper spray, there’s more to it than that. It’s about situational awareness, preparedness and assertiveness. Often, this means not only developing and practicing physical strategies, but cultivating confidence.

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