Damsel in Defense
We’ve all heard the disturbing news about violent attacks on women close to home, most recently in Norfolk and Charlottesville. But can you sell safety at a cocktail party? The company Damsel in Defense believes so.
Ladies are getting their stun gun on at “Empower Hour” parties nationwide and here in Coastal Virginia. Instead of makeup or jewelry, Damsel sales reps sell personal safety products that are “safe and sassy” in casual settings such as a host’s home or business.
Damsel in Defense was founded by two Idaho moms in 2011, one of whom is a sexual assault survivor. The women set out to create personal safety products that were not only effective but fashionable. Now, the company has more than 10,000 Independent Damsel Pros nationwide. One of them is Meteorologist Cheryl Nelson (formerly of WAVY-TV 10.) In fact, she signed up to become a Damsel from the website without ever attending an Empower Hour.
“As a meteorologist, I feel that people should be prepared for any type of disaster,” Nelson says. “Like a hurricane, a personal attack is life-threatening, and it only takes one.”
Products range in price from $10 to $100. All of the products are non-lethal, but they do pack a punch. One of the most popular items is the Gotcha Stun Gun. While it looks like a camera, it actually contains 7.5 million volts of electricity, an alarm, and even a cell phone charger. It also features a disable pin. If the gun gets taken from you, it cannot be used against you.
Damsel’s pepper sprays are also different. Besides coming in cute colors like pink and leopard print, they also contain a UV dye to stain an attacker. “Hot Lil’ Hands” is a clever glove, with a false finger for pepper spray. “Many joggers love them because they don’t have to carry something extra,” Nelson explains.
In the past year, Nelson has traveled across Coastal Virginia giving her presentation in private homes, workplaces, conventions and schools. But an Empower Hour she hosted at a sorority at the College of William & Mary is one that impacted her the most. “I think college women are especially vulnerable walking around campus,” says Nelson. “While one student knew someone who’d been attacked, many had never been away from home before. They’d never had given any thought to their personal safety. I think it was really eye-opening.”
Damsel in Defense also donates a portion of their proceeds to charities that benefit women and children. But most importantly, the company is focused on prevention. “While we hope we’ll never have to face an attacker,” says Nelson, “Being prepared could save your life, or the life of someone you love. The risk of being unprepared is just too great.”