Ms. Jessup was a 13-year-old Portland, OR high school freshman in 2004 when she first saw the surveillance video on the news of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia being abducted from a Florida car wash.
As subsequent reports of the girl’s rape and murder rolled in, Jessup, though still a kid herself, was inspired to act.
A black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a student of Filipino street fighting, she realized she possessed a certain set of skills that could protect other young girls from the same fate.
So she created Just Yell Fire, a free 45-minute video, downloadable through her website, that teaches young women ages 11 through 19 a set of easily learned martial arts skills that can be used to escape sexual assault and other forms of attack.
Now 19 and attending Vanderbilt University, Jessup has testified before Congress to promote self-defense education and is working on a new film for college-age women, training a team of Just Yell Fire educators, and teaching self-defense in India where the risk of abduction for sex trafficking is especially high.