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Culturally Adapted Programs for Emotional and Physical Safety

What do we teach?


Main safety skills practiced:  


How to identify threats in the public space, workplace, interpersonal relationships, as well as intrinsic threats in the interpersonal world

Know Thyself

Identifying personal needs and boundaries and choosing to protect them  

Communication Strategies 

Assertiveness, boundary-setting, verbal self defense. Statistically in more than 80% of the times these strategies stop threatening situations from escalating into psychical/ sexual violence

Physical Self-Defense

Training in simple techniques designed specifically for the female body in gender based violence dynamics

Psycho Social Support 

Sharing one's story and self care routine, creating social support networks to enhance individual and societal resilience

Use What You Have

Identifying personal strengths and abilities, and using them to create a personal safety

The Bigger Picture

Understanding the connections between violence, gender, culture and society

​How do we make it efficient?


We have sustainability in mind - how can new habits be internalized into our lives and stay there?


Here’s some of the answers our experience has taught us:


The Body

In CAPE, a big emphasis is placed on the body: The programs’ pedagogy combines body-based learning, participating in simulations and adult learning methods. All of these have been research and positively linked to sustainable change of habits in adults: when people learn by doing, it has a transformative effect that is bigger then that of cognitive-focused learning.


Combining Methods

We connect the body-based experience to verbal, emotional, cognitive and social mechanisms. We use discussions, ventilations, emotional processing, and different theraputic methods for groups and indiciduals. This is done in a supportive and fun group process.


We understand we are experts in our fields, but the people we work with are experts for their own lives. So, our main idea is cooperation. We work with locals and local organizations and adjust our programs to assist them achieving their long-term goals.


We never work in a location before doing participatory research to assess local needs and strengths. This is why the next part tells the real secret.

How does cultural literacy influence sustainable change?


Violence, threats, vulnerability - we can find them everywhere, right? Well, while these are global phenomena, they are also affected by the specific patterns of the culture of the community in which they occur. Therefore, cultural literacy is important for any professional endeavoring to reduce these phenomena.

Cultural assessments and adaptations are critical to offering relevant and sustainable interventions. These perceptions are the backbone of CAPE and we have our own assessment model we use un each location we go to. 

How we research 

We combine principle ethnographic methods as well as participatory methods.


What we research 

Our team builds partnerships with locals and asses and map the GBV in their communities, as well as relevant local perceptions and norms.​

How do we use the research?

This assessment informs the development of specific class plans and teaching pedagogy used in later stages of the program, both for designing safety programs, and for training local women/ professionals to continue working on the project after we leave.



​This model has been presented at international conferences such as: SVRI, SQIP conference of the APA, COLLEEX conference of EASA, the progressiveconnexions conference in Vienna as well as in the Israeli anthropological society convention.

Which of our work models is best for you?


We currently offer different work models, each combines cultural assessment, teaching of culturally adapted programs and training local staff to continue the work on field.


We currently have 3 work models:


The Emergency Model 

For humanitarian emergencies (Read More).

The Women’s Model 

For ongoing women's development and women's empowerment focus (Read More).

The System’s Model 

Working in community/ educational/ organizational systems as part of an existing ongoing process of system’s change (Read More).

​Who are we, again?


Shira Langer 


A body-oriented psychotherapist, Shira holds a Bachelor’s degree in Community Social Work. She has ten years' experience as an Empowerment Self-Defense instructor and she is working as a therapeutic martial artist. She was the socio-psychological manager in Nepal for the INGO Tevel, and was trained as a specialist for resilience building.

​Tamar Priel 


Tamar has been an Empowerment Self-Defense instructor for the past eight years. She is multi-disciplinary, holding both a Master’s degree in Social Work, and a Master’s degree in Cultural Research, focusing on cultural sensitivity in women’s empowerment and community interventions. Tamar works as a trauma counselor specializing in treating sexual trauma. She has worked as safety advisor in Asia, the Caribbean, and the former USSR.

cultural literacy
woman strikes a punch while she traines in physical self defense
woman has a campus on her arm showing her the way to safe land
what we teach
work models
woman communicating "stop" with her hand to set boundary in empowerment self defense
who we are
Tamar Priel of CAPE, cultural researcher and empowerment self defense instructor
Shira Langer of CAPE is a social worker for trauma and resilience building
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