Welcome to Rose City Self-Defense!
(Formerly the WomenStrength and GirlStrength programs)
Rose City Self-Defense empowers girls, women and the LGBTQ+ community, with a focus on engaging communities of color, people with disabilities, folks with unstable housing, as well as safety for sex workers.
Classes are for young women 13 and above (13-16 asked to be accompanied to class by a trusted adult woman) and anyone who identifies as a woman or is non-binary
*Masks required for all in-person classes
November(IN-PERSON) Class will be held on Mondays, November 7th, 14th and 21st from 5:30-8:45 pm at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center: 6651 SW Capitol Hwy, 97219 Registration opens on Monday, October 17th at 9:00 am PLEASE USE WEB FORM (email will not be accepted for in-person registration)
December (IN-PERSON) class will be held on Saturdays, December 3rd, 10th and 17th from 9:30am-12:45 pm at the Matt Dishman Community Center; 77 NE Knott, 97212 Registration opens on Monday, November 7th at 9:00 am PLEASE USE WEBFORM (email will not be accepted for in-person classes)
We will resume our advanced programming (Refresher class, Intermediate class and Weapons class) in2023
Click here to register.
Middle School & High School Programming
This programming is currently on hold due to staffing shortages. We will update this website as these classes become available.
Personal Safety Workshops are designed to introduce adults to a variety of self-protective options in a short, non-physical, discussion format. The basic workshop covers:
- prevention strategies
- recognizing when one is being targeted for an attack
- the pros and cons of various options for ending an attack
Discussion is designed to help people identify their risks and evaluate their strengths, and to explore their options for dealing with the threat of violence.
- Co-ed work groups (90 minutes in length, does NOT include physical self-defense skills)
- For women identified people who have Intellectual or developmental disabilities (2 hours in length, includes physical self-defense skills)
- For women identified people who use mobility devices (2 hours in length, includes physical self-defense skills)
- Women's groups (90 minutes-2 hours in length, option of including physical self-defense skills)
- De-escalation training (3 hours in length)
- For your affinity group, we will tailor the workshop for your group!
Click here to register.
Thank you for your interest in becoming a volunteer self-defense instructor! We are currently planning on a new volunteer training in 2023, with dates to be determined. If you are interested in volunteering, please email email@example.com and let us know your name and email. We will be in contact when we start accepting applications.
In July of 2022, The Strength Programs (WomenStrength, GirlStrength and BoyStrength) moved from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB)! We have moved to the Community Safety Division (CSD) under the City of Portland’s Office of Management and Finance. This move was for several reasons: CSD was created to house safety and prevention programs in 2021, and the Strength programs were a natural fit. The other significant reason is that we found in WomenStrength, it was hard to reach some communities with our association with PPB; specifically, communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community. This move to CSD was a positive move and motivated us to rebrand our name and also update our curriculum to focus on equity and inclusion of those who we have been missing.
The Youth Against Violence (formerly BoyStrength program) has moved under the Office of Violence Prevention. You can find their website here.
Since 1979, we have provided free empowerment-based self-defense classes and personal safety workshops to people around the Portland metro area. We have taught self-defense skills to approximately 40,000 women and teenage girls, and personal safety workshops to over 110,000 people. In our self-defense classes we offer just more than just physical self-defense skills. Included are topics such as using your intuition, understanding different escape options, negotiating consent, information about abusive relationships, boundary setting and assertiveness skills. This holistic approach has been successful in teaching our students that physical fighting is our last resort and we have so many options to choose from if faced with the threat of violence.
Finally, please be patient with us during this transition. We anticipate more web content in the upcoming weeks.