I was a pacifist until one night...

... a friend phoned and tearfully told me she had been followed home, attacked and viciously raped by a predator. As I drove her to a hospital I learned that she'd had several opportunities during the ordeal to defend herself - if only she'd had something to defend herself with. But she didn't - no self-defense spray, no mini-baton, no gun.

Her condition was so horrendous that right then and there, I made up my mind --- this was NOT EVER going to happen to me. What followed for me was a journey of discovery, training (at dozens of the top self-defense and lethal weapons programs), enlightenment and sharing that fulfilled my own needs for security. I also saw that I had to become a national advocate of the concept that WOMEN CAN AND MUST TAKE ACTION TO BETTER THEIR LIVES.

I've taken my message of women's empowerment to more than 300 TV and radio shows including The Today Show, Good Morning America, Oprah Winfrey, Jenny Jones, Larry King, Maury Povich, Regis and Kathy Lee, Hard Copy, The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, 60 Minutes, and the G.Gordon Liddy, Ken Hamblin and Steve Mason radio shows. I was interviewed and profiled in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, New York Times, Washington Post, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Investors Business Daily, and featured in Glamour, Elle, Mirabella, Savvy and L.A. Style.

I've taught security tactics (with and without guns) to thousands of women and couples in my seminars WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT IN THE 90's, and to millions more in my bestselling books ARMED & FEMALE and NOT AN EASY TARGET.

I'm originally from Chicago where I've earned a Bachelors in Speech and a Masters in Anthropology. For five years prior to my work in women's security I was an executive for Playboy Enterprises, reporting to Christie Hefner, C.E.O. I'm on the Board of Governors of Impact/Model Mugging of Los Angeles, and have taken first place in the Charlton Heston Celebrity Shoot, Women's Division, two years running.

Organizations who have relied on my expertise include Westec Security, Beverly Hills Country Club, Beverly Hills Real Estate Board, Los Angeles Women in Business, Prudential Realty, Cedars Sinai Hospital, and City of Hope. I was Yoko Ono's bodyguard, security consultant to many high-profile individuals, and have taught self-defense and shooting to a stellar list of Hollywood actresses who understandably --- so as not to tip their hand to nuts and stalkers --- do not want to be named.

If you're a woman, I want to encourage and inspire you to step out of character, abandon age-old bonds of male dependence, and break free from the powerlessness, fear and depression that has plagued our gender for so long.

If you're a woman reading this, chances are the men in your life have already tried to make you more pro-active in personal safety --- because they love you and care about you. They may feel an old-fashioned responsibility to protect you wherever you go - but of course, that's no longer appropriate nor practical.

Please take charge. Get informed. Get prepared. Get empowered.