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Abused to Survivor

September 3, 2019 / Michelle Levell / Blogroll, Personal Stories

For several months we have been sharing personal stories of our members and supporters about their journey as firearm owners. It is a sad truth that many of the members of the Women’s Defense League of NH were abused at some point in their lives. For some, that is what led them to seek training with us. We encourage each other’s inner strength and empower women with the confidence, knowledge, and skills to defend themselves and their loved ones. We refuse to be victims and help women become survivors. The following is Shirley’s story and we thank her for sharing it so other women can find the courage and strength to become survivors, too.


I am married 17 years to my best friend, my second husband. My first husband was an abuser and the day I left him, five years into the marriage, was the day I took the seven years of karate I had and defended myself. People have asked why it took me so long to use what I know to stop the violence. I was sexually assaulted by my karate instructor at age 16 and that left a lot of mental baggage about going up against an assailant of much larger size. Now I say ENOUGH. My firearm gives me the ability to defend myself that all my martial arts training never had and therefore my confidence in my own ability to keep myself safe. I find great enjoyment and satisfaction in range time, and it’s my constitutional right. The classes I’ve taken through the Women’s Defense League of NH have given me more and better skills along with peace of mind and it just keeps getting better.

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