Welcome to SEPS Women's Self Defense

Situation Effective Protection System For Women's Self-Defense

Free Online Course

Women's Self-Protection & Self-Defense

Research Based & Driven

Preventing, Predicting & Identifying Violence

Welcome To SEPS Women's Self-Defense.

This is a free online course that teaches you how to predict, identify, prevent and avoid violence.

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About The SEPS Women's Self-Defense Program

A Free Personal Safety & Self-Defense Program

Women's Self-Defense - Rear Strangle Attack The SEPS (Situation Effective Protection System) Women's Self Defense Free Online Course, is a program that aims to introduce women to an array of subjects that concern their personal safety, from sexual assaults to potentially abusive partners (both emotionally and physically). Each module looks at a separate issue of self-protection and personal safety. At the end of the program, you should be empowered to predict, identify and avoid violent situations and the individuals who design and orchestrate them.

Before working through the course (our suggestion is to study one a week - there is a large amount of content and a lot of information to digest) it is advisable to first read the foundations section of the course as this introduces you to some fundamental concepts and principles that are referred to throughout the modules, and will help give you a better understanding of the module's content. To read this please click here.

Women's Self-Defense - Abduction Prevention This course isn't simply a list of do's and do not's, nor does it prescribe a set of safety rules you should follow, instead it looks at educating and empowering you, so that you are able to make dynamic risk assessments of the situations you find yourself in where harmful intent may be present. To learn more about the SEPS approach to personal safety/self-defense, and how if differs from most other systems of self-protection, please click here.

Each self-protection module will give you the information you need to help you predict, identify and avoid violence before it occurs. It will also provide you with a lot of background information as to why predatory and aggressive individuals act and behave the way they do. This information isn't given simply to increase your head knowledge around the subject, but so that you are better able to understand how and why you should respond to them and their threat in a certain way. The focus of the course is on understanding and adopting personal safety habits that will harden you as a target, and prevent you from appearing on predatory individual's radars, and if you are for whatever reason picked up and targeted, are able to understand their actions and behaviors which indicate that, they hav harmful intent towards you and that you are in danger. With this advance warning you can put into play strategies for extracating yourself from the situation.

For a brief synopsis of the different modules, please click here, or if you are ready to start the course by reading the "Foundations" module, please click here.

Foundations Of Self-Protection

Learning The Methods & Processes Of Violence

There are two basic types of violent incident: spontaneous and premeditated. In spontaneous acts of violence, people become aggressive due to your actions and behaviors, whether real or perceived e.g. you cut somebody off in traffic, you jump a queue, you spill a drink over somebody, another woman thinks that you were flirting with her boyfriend/partner etc. It doesn’t matter whether you are guilty of these things or not, your aggressor believes you are, and has become angry/violent because of them. In premeditated incidents, the perpetrator has planned and orchestrated the situation; they were actively looking for a victim to target. We can’t predict spontaneous acts of aggression/violence, because they are by nature spontaneous and occur due to misunderstandings and accidents e.g. you weren’t aware that the space in which you parked belonged to somebody else etc. however premeditated acts of violence that target individuals can be predicted because predatory individuals use common methods and tactics for targeting, selecting and gaining access to their victims.

The SEPS Women’s Self-Defense Foundational module, introduces you to the methods that these predatory individuals use, and teaches you how to identify the steps and stages that they go through along their timeline before they physically interact with you. This allows us to either avoid them, disengage from them, or prepare ourselves to deal with them physically – it is this ability to identify violence before it happens that enables our physical self-defense training to be effective (without these skills any self-defense training is unlikely to work).

We refer to the knowledge and skills that help/allow you to predict, identify and avoid violence as self-protection and the physical solutions to dealing with violence as self-defense. Although physical self-defense techniques and skills are an important piece of your overall personal safety strategy, they rarely work or are effective, unless you have time to prepare to use them. If an attacker catches you off-guard with a committed, aggressive and forceful attack, you will find yourself a long way behind on the curve, with a lot of catching up to do – while your attacker continues to move forward with whatever they have planned. This is not to say it’s impossible, but dealing with a physical assault from a prepared position, increases your survival chances greatly, and gives you the best chance of preventing your attacker from doing what they want to do to you.

The SEPS foundational module, will teach you how to understand and identify violence before it occurs, make dynamic risk assessments of situations you find yourself in, and develop strategies and tactics for preventing and dealing with violence.

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Rape & Sexual Assaults

Identifying Sexual Predators By Their Processes & Methods

Although we readily acknowledge the statistics behind rape – that women are most likely to be raped by someone they know, in their home or somebody else’s – we rarely think that they apply to us i.e. the people we know are safe, and have no harmful intent towards us, and when we are in our house or apartment we are safe etc. These types of assaults happen to other people, not to us. Unfortunately, the statistics for rape and sexual assaults, apply to everybody; nobody’s situation is that different or unique, that these statistics don’t apply to them. Regardless of income, class, ethnicity etc. these statistics apply to every woman.

For the individual, it is impossible to profile sexual predators. Most are good-looking, charming, socially adept and often good-looking. Many have sexual partners, with which they engage in consensual sex. However, rapists have a dark side; they fantasize about non-consensual sex, wanting to have power and control over their victims, and dispense their personal anger and frustrations through sexual acts. Rape is largely, and primarily, about power, anger and control – not about sex.

Trying to identify a sexual predator by how they act and behave in their daily life is impossible. When Brock Turner’s father wrote to the Judge who was responsible for sentencing his son, for the rape of a young woman on a college campus (2015), he claimed that the assault didn’t represent who his son was, and that it would be wrong to punish him harshly for what he described as “20 minutes of madness”. Brock Turner, never revealed to his father his dark fantasies, or told him that he had masturbated about forcing a victim to have sex with him, against their will. These were not conversations for the dinner table. These were the thoughts and fantasies Brock Turner kept private and secret, and didn’t share. Brock Turner was/is a sexual predator, it’s just that nobody saw that side of him, until he was caught (this is true of most sexual predators, including paedophiles who blend into their families, communities and social circles, without revealing their predatory nature).

Obviously, we don’t want to live in fear, suspecting everybody we know – and those we meet – of being a sexual predator. Fortunately, there are common methods and processes that rapists and other predatory individuals use to gain access to their victims. If we know how to identify somebody who is employing these, when they interact with us, we can use disengagement strategies to move away from them, or prevent them gaining access to us. In this module you will learn how to identify predatory behaviors and strategies for dealing with them.

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Abusive Partners

Predicting, Preventing & Avoiding Abusive Relationships

Our default perspective is normally one of optimism i.e. bad things happen to other people rather than to us etc. We also tend to be overly confident in our abilities to judge character, and identify danger. Unfortunately, these two things when combined can cause us to override our natural instincts and gut feelings about people and situations; we trust our ability to rationalize and reason, above our emotional responses. Unfortunately, when it comes to recognizing the warning signs, that inform us that our relationship with our partner, may turn abusive, we are often quick to discount them; possibly rationalizing our partner’s actions and behaviors, and securing ourselves in the knowledge that we are not the type of person who would end up in an abusive relationship – that is something that happens to other people, not to us.

In the early stages of a relationship, few abusers will show their hand. It may be that they believe that in their past relationships it was the fault of their partner who was responsible for causing them to abuse, or it may be that they will do their best to hide and disguise their true nature, until their partner has invested enough in the relationship, that they will be reluctant to give it up. There are however early warning signs that are usually given, and often discounted as being unusual, or interpreted in a positive manner, even though they normally result in feelings of uncomfortableness – our emotional responses often give a better indication of future danger, than our conscious and rational interpretation of actions and behaviors.

It is important to note that not all abusive relationships, are physically abusive, and in some physically abusive relationships there isn’t any physical contact e.g. if your partner locks you in a room to prevent you from going out and seeing friends and family, this is physical abuse, even though it hasn’t left a bruise or caused an injury etc. Even in physically abusive relationships, it is often the psychological and emotional abuse that causes the most distress; the threats, the fear and the attacks on the individuals self-worth and esteem. In this module on abusive relationships, we look at all forms of abuse, including sexual and financial, as often recognizing it is the first step in dealing with it.

It is easy to think/believe that the risk of us being involved in an abusive relationship is low to zero, however many women, from many different walks of life, believed the same thing, before they realized they were in one. This module looks to help you predict and identify abusive partners before they start abusing or have invested heavily into the relationship – as it is often these individual who engage in stalking campaigns once the relationship has ended.

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Stalkers & Stalking

Preventing & Dealing With Stalking Campaigns

It was once thought that it was only celebrities and public figures who were targeted by stalkers, and the high-profile murders of John Lennon and Rebecca Schaeffer by their stalkers, confirmed this perception for many. The truth however is that most stalkers are ex-intimate partners, who pursue and harass those that they were once in a relationship with; sometimes with the initial goal of trying to get back together, sometimes out of revenge and jealousy, and sometimes for a mix of these and other reasons.

One of the issues with stalking is that each individual incident isn’t usually illegal e.g. sending a text message, making a phone call, sending an email – as long as they don’t contain threats – isn’t against the law. It is only when each incident can be shown to be part of an on-going campaign, that causes you to fear for your safety, that any law is actually broken (it is also worth noting that most stalkers aren’t deterred by restraining orders and other legal measures, and so pursuing a legal route to dealing with a stalker may in fact escalate their activities rather than cause them to stop). All of this can make dealing with a stalker a daunting task, however there are effective and proven strategies for dealing with them, though many of these at first glance may seem counter-intuitive.

Most people when they try and deal with a stalker – especially those who are former partners – believe that they are dealing with a rational person who can be reasoned with. Unfortunately, somebody who is constantly bombarding you with communications, who turns up at your workplace for no reason, and/or repeatedly leaves notes on your car etc. is not acting or thinking rationally, and is unlikely to respond to any arguments or reasons you give them as to why they should stop harassing you. All you are likely to do in communicating with them and explaining why they should stop is to confirm to them that their campaign is affecting you and is therefore being effective.

In this module on stalkers and stalking, we look at methods and approaches for dealing with stalkers. By understanding their motivations and goals, we can put in place tactics and strategies for both coping with the stress, fear and emotion caused by their campaign, along with ways to prevent them gaining access to us, and eventually getting them to stop. We also look at the issues and effectiveness of restraining orders and when these should be applied, and in reality the consequences they often lead to.

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Defensive Sprays

Using Pepper/OC Spray effectively

Of all the self-defense tools available to women (and men), pepper spray is probably one of the most effective, when used properly. It is classed as a less-than-lethal weapon (the police recognize and use it in this manner), and so the consequences of using it, are less drastic than if you were to shoot or stab somebody (guns and knives are lethal weapons). In many situations, it can be difficult to determine what is an appropriate use of force, and with the effects of pepper spray being temporary, with no lasting side-effects or consequences, it can be used in almost any situation where you feel threatened, without the fear of legal consequences; both criminal and civil. This allows for decisive action, which is often the difference between being successful and unsuccessful in a violent encounter, as there are few things that have to be factored into the decision-making process when deciding whether to spray somebody or not.

Not all defensive sprays are the same. There is a big difference between CS Sprays and OC/Pepper sprays, both in the time they take to have an effect, and the effects themselves. Because of this it is important to know what spray to select, along with its delivery mechanism e.g. is it a cone/fogger, a stream, or a foam/gel etc. Different sprays have different strengths and weaknesses, and one which may work well in an open space, may not be so useful in a confined one (where there are other people present), and vice versa. Some can be fired at a greater distance/range than others, and some are more reliable when the wind is strong etc. This module on Pepper and Defensive sprays looks at the different types and their appropriateness for particular situations. It also looks at how they should be used from a physical perspective, as the “normal” way in which they are held will often see the spray missing an advancing assailant.

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Date & Acquaintance Rape

Identifying Sexual Predators & Rapists By The Methods They Use

There are times when we are more vulnerable than others. One of these times is when we are going on a date. However, casual we may think a date is going to be, we can never be sure what the expectations of the other person are, even if we think we know that individual quite well. Once the term “date” gets ascribed to a meeting, a meal in a restaurant, a drink in our home, both ourselves and the other party start thinking about the event in certain – and possibly different – ways. Because of this, predatory individuals can often get us to act and behave in ways that we wouldn’t normally; possibly causing us to make exceptions to our personal safety that we wouldn’t normally make, but that in the setting of a “date” seem acceptable to make.

In this module on date and acquaintance rape, we look at different methods that sexual predators use, to both gain access and cause the person they are targeting to lower their guard, and unbeknown to them, start handing over control of the situation to the other person. Most predatory individuals are skilled social players who know how to gain trust, and manipulate others into behaving in ways that they wouldn’t normally. Most of us believe we are good judges of character, and can identify those who have harmful intent towards us. Unfortunately, these individuals live their lives 24x7 as predators and are therefore much better skilled at hiding their intentions, than we are at identifying them. We can believe that we have done all we can to mitigate the potential risks of a date, and fail to detect the harmful intent of the person we are with.

This module on date and acquaintance rape, looks at redefining some of our ideas and definitions around who constitutes a stranger. It also looks at the methods that these predatory individuals use to put us off guard, allay our fears, and in a short amount of time get us to trust them. These individuals are some of the greatest con-men and social-players around, and are often funny, charming and nice. They do however follow identifiable processes, and use certain tools and methods to help them gain control of the situation, and take that control away from us. It is by identifying these that we get to reveal the true intent of the person we are with.

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Managing Fear & Adrenaline

How To Think & Operate When Under Stress & Duress

Fear can warn us of danger, and physiologically equip us for dealing with violence, by adrenalizing us, and altering our emotional state. However, we don’t always react and respond to this change in a positive fashion e.g. sometimes rather than being empowered to act and defend ourselves, we go into a state of denial, possibly finding ourselves freezing and unable to act, think or move. If we are not used to working in this adrenalized state we can find ourselves unable to respond to a threat or danger, even if we know what we should do. Learning how to think and operate when under stress and duress, is a key survival skill, and without it both our self-protection and self-defense skills will be ineffective.

This module on managing fear and adrenaline, explains the physiological changes that occur, when we become aware of danger, and how our body alerts us to the presence of a threat. It looks at both the conscious and subconscious processes that allow us to identify threats, and our common responses to them – along with how to overcome the negative effects of fear and adrenaline. The module also looks at decision-making methods that work when we are in this state, and why our normal/default methods of deciding on courses of action will cause us to hesitate, and leave us in a state of indecision. Being decisive is one of the most important survival skills, when you are dealing with an aggressor who is denying you time and distance.

There are both mental and physical exercises you can engage in when you become adrenalized, in order to manage and limit some of the negative side-effects that this state brings; at one time in our evolution/development these things may have been beneficial (such as when our major threats came from wild animals etc.), or give us an advantage in certain specific situations. These methods for managing our adrenal state are explained and taught – all of them have been tested, and continue to be used by operatives working in the real-world. What will work for a soldier or police officer who is under fire, will work when under a similar level of stress and duress, when dealing with a sexual predator, or when dealing with a socially violent incident.

Without learning how to manage, think and operate when adrenalized, all of your physical self-defense skills will be found wanting, so learning how to manage your emotional state when adrenalized is an important skill to have.

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Self-Protection Course

Self-Protection skills and knowledge helps you avoid violent situations, and better prepare yourself for dealing with them when/where avoidance isn't possible. Understanding how violent situations occur and develop, allows you to create the time and distance to make your physical self-defense techniques effective. Physical self-defense, without these self-protection skills and knowledge is unlikely to be successful.

This course looks at equipping you with the knowledge you need to both predict, prevent and avoid violence, and if necessary prepares you to deal with it. The course starts with a foundational module that introduces you to violence.

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Surveys & Research

SEPS (Situation Effective Protection System), is a research-based approach for predicting, preventing and avoiding violence. Applying academic research, from the disciplines of psychology, criminology and the social sciences, SEPS is a system that is founded and grounded in reality.

We also conduct our own research and studies into violence that targets women. If you would like to help us gain a better understanding of perceptions around violence against women, please take the time to complete one of our short surveys. These are anonymous, and each one should take only a few minutes to complete.

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Questions? Contact Us

If you have any questions, concerns or simply want to express an interest into what we do, we'd be happy to hear from you, using any one of the contact methods on our contact page.

Our goal and mission is to provide the information and knowledge contained on this site to as many women as possible. Please feel free to share this site, with your friends and/or members of any organization you are part of. If we can help facilitate this in anyway, please feel free to contact us, and we'd be happy to take a look at ways in which we may be able to assist you. Alternatively, please take a look at our resources page by clicking here.

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Meet SEPS Founder
Gershon Ben Keren

Gershon Ben Keren is one of the co-founders of SEPS, and wrote the course material for the SEPS Women's Self-Defense Program. To read more about him click here.

Women's Self-Defense Program Creator Gershon Ben Keren Women's Self Defense Logo

Course Modules

Before taking these modules, you may wish to read the foundation module first by clicking here.

Rape & Sexual Assaults

This module introduces the student to the way sexual predators and rapists behave and act. How they select targets/victims and gain access to them. This session is not overly concerned with the different types/categories of sexual predators but the practical measures that can be taken so as not to be identified as a target, and the ways of identifying the behaviors and actions of would be sexual predators so that it is possible to disengage from them. The module also addresses some of the myths that surrounds rape, rapists and sexual assaults.

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Abusive Relationships

Prevention is far better than a cure, and in this module students are introduced to the warning signs that mark out potentially abusive partners (physical & non-physical) and ex-partners who may later go on to be stalkers. It may be that students are in the early stages of a relationship and will identify these signals in their partner, or it may be that they are trying to exit a relationship and these warning signs will be something that they can relate to and reinforce their case for leaving (it is not the aim of this module to offer advice on how to leave an abusive partner or resolve an abusive relationship).

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Stalkers & Stalking

Stalking is a strange crime because it is determined by the way the victim/target perceives another person's actions and behaviors, rather than by those actions themselves. A person can make continuous phone calls, send emails, have gifts and packages delivered to another, and as long as that person doesn't feel at risk from these actions or mind them happening they should not be defined as stalking. When these actions and behaviors form a campaign, which causes the target/recipient of them to fear for/consider their personal safety then the term "stalking" can be applied. It is important to note that it is a string of activities committed over time rather than odd isolated incidents, which really define stalking.

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OC/Pepper Spray

This module looks at the different types of defensive sprays that are available for personal protection. It looks at and discusses the different merits of these and their various delivery mechanisms e.g. sprays versus streams etc. as well as the effects that they have on an assailant. This module is a mix of video and text, and teaches you everything you need to know about selecting a spray and deploying it effectively.

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Date & Acquaintance Rape

This module looks at personal safety when in a variety of social settings such as bars, pubs and clubs, as well as at parties and other social/public gatherings both at private and public venues. Rather than just looking at self-protection when in these settings this module will also look at safety issues around being out at night in general. This module will also focus in on date and acquaintance rape, and look at detection, avoidance and preventative measures that can be taken to avoid becoming the victim of such an assault.

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Managing Fear

When we are placed in potentially dangerous situations our fear system kicks in and we become adrenalized. This cocktail of chemicals and hormones improves certain of our abilities and functions e.g. we become more tolerant to pain etc. and reduces others - we lose our peripheral vision and get tunnel vision etc. Most people rarely experience these sensations and so when they do they often panic or freeze. In this module we look at how to control the body's natural responses to fear and how to work with them in order to maximize their positive effects and improve our survival chances.

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