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Jennifer Cassetta is a self-defense expert and author of Hear Me Roar: how to defend your mind, body and heart against people who suck. Before getting to the physicality of self defense, Jennifer teaches her ABC’s of Self defense: awareness, boundaries and communication. The following is an excerpt for her book on boundaries.


Setting physical boundaries is crucial to protecting your body from a potential predator. We all have different comfort levels when it comes to our space. For example, some people like to hug and others can’t stand it. But, when it comes to strangers, you definitely need to know your boundaries.

On the street, keep aware of people around you and how close they need to be to you. On a crowded street or subway during rush hour, it may be completely normal and necessary to be close to someone. However, at 10 p.m. walking down a deserted street there should be nobody even close to your personal space.

Find your personal space.

Take action:

Stand up and spread both of your arms out to the side as far as they’ll go. Now turn until you make a complete circle. That imaginary line that you just drew with your hands is going to symbolize the boundary of your personal space. Nobody should invade your personal space unless you have invited them into it.

If someone has invaded your personal space you have two options:

1. Physically move away from that person so you can re-establish your personal space.

2. Confront the person who has invaded your space. Tell them to get away from you. Or you may have to be more forceful with your language and/or your body and remove them from your space.

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