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Helping women be safer in an uncertain world

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Independent Damsel in Defense Director Carolyn Goldenetz, left, and Independent Damsel Pro Penny Marcum of New Castle look over some children’s books to help them understand how to be safer. Their handbags are made for concealed-carry of firearms.
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Penny Marcum shows a variety of emergency tools that come with the Junk in the Trunk kit for women to keep in their cars. She holds a multi-purpose tool for use in emergencies, sold separately.

By DONNA CRONK - dcronk@thecouriertimes.com

By day, Penny Marcum is a Henry County court reporter.

In her spare time, the 1987 New Castle Chrysler High School graduate enjoys helping educate and arm women with information and products to help them become safer in their daily lives.

She’s been a court reporter in Henry County Circuit Court 2 for two-and-a-half years and before that, spent 16 years working in the Henry County Sheriff’s office. Within the last three years, she saw Damsel in Defense products and was drawn to the concealed-carry purses. This fall, she began selling the products, sponsored by Carolyn Goldenetz of Indianapolis, an independent Damsel director.

Goldenetz describes what the seven-year-old Idaho-based, family-owned company hopes to do: “We equip, we empower and we educate.”

She cites a variety of statistics: that one in five women are survivors of rape; one in three experience domestic violence in their lifetimes; that a violent crime occurs every 26 seconds in the U.S. and that one in four girls and one in six boys are victims of sexual abuse.

“I just feel like we shouldn’t live in fear,” Marcum said of why she is drawn to the company’s philosophy and products. 

To that end, she uses and sells products to women as a vendor at community events and in home parties and via online sales to help empower them.

The products range from pepper spray to keychains with multiple purposes, stun guns, some disguised as cameras, concealed-carry purses, a Road Trip Emergency Auto Tool and an emergency tool kit to keep in an automobile called Junk in the Trunk.

Those and many more products help women, as Goldenetz says, in being proactive rather than reactive in their approach to safety.

There’s also 10 children’s books that walk children through a variety of difficult subjects to help them learn how to be safer in various situations, such as how to handle someone approaching them inappropriately.

Marcum, who spent two years becoming educated about women’s safety as well as firearms in the Hancock County Chapter of Well-Armed Woman, said in her short time as a vendor, “I’ve gotten a good reaction.”

Goldenetz said Damsel in Defense is all about layering your defense as a woman. For example, with a stun gun, there are two warnings before activation – a flashlight and a warning shot.

By empowering women with knowledge and products, she said, “I want people to know I’m a hard target.”

Marcum also has an associate degree from Ball State University along with some continuing education.

For more information, contact her at 765-545-0278 or email her at dpennyc@yahoo.com. To see what Damsel in Defense products are available for purchase, visit mydamselpro.net/PMarcum