About CJ Scarlet


CJ Scarlet was 19, a freshman in college, when she was raped by a sheriff’s deputy she had just started dating. In 1980 there was no word for date rape, so she blamed herself for “tempting him” by entering his apartment. Four months later, CJ was sexually assaulted by her Marine Corps recruiter, who took advantage of his position of authority.

For a decade CJ grappled with the trauma of these events. She had already survived childhood sexual abuse, so these latest assaults manifested an even deeper level of shame and self-loathing. She came to accept that she must have a big “V” tattooed on her forehead that announced to every predator within a mile that she was an ideal victim.

Eventually, CJ found healing through therapy and self-help books, and somewhere along the way she came to love and forgive herself and her assailants. But the real turning point came when she grew tired of the trauma owning her life.

CJ took her power back and became an advocate for others who had been victimized. She served on the board of the local rape crisis center and took the helm as executive director of a child advocacy center, both while working to complete her master’s degree in human violence. She then served for three years as Director of Victims Issues for the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, where she implemented the first statewide automated victim notification system that notifies survivors before their perpetrators are released from custody.
Yet, after nearly three decades as a victim advocate, CJ grew tired of dealing with crime and violence after they occurred. she knew that if things continue as they are, the work will never end. She realized that to create genuine change, she needed to address the source of the problem. So, CJ chose to focus her efforts on thwarting predators and keeping people from being victimized at all.

But the dark secrets CJ held and the stress they caused led her to develop two life-threatening autoimmune conditions that, in 2002, left her fighting for her life. By 2004, she was so debilitated, she had to crawl on her hands and knees to get upstairs, and she couldn’t lift a cup of coffee or hold a hairbrush. She became very depressed and anxious about her impending heart failure.

Then CJ was offered the chance to meet privately with a Tibetan Buddhist lama who commanded her to “stop feeling sorry for herself and start thinking of the happiness of other people.” Daunted but determined, CJ began performing small acts of kindness—letting the mom with the crying baby go ahead of her in line, giving her cane to a woman who was struggling to walk and volunteering at the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina. These simple, free acts made her feel a bit happier, so she did more, and the more she did the better she felt, until she reached a point where her heart was so full it no longer mattered whether she was sick or ill, or even living or dying—she was filled with gratitude for each moment.

At that point, her condition went into remission! Today, CJ feels better than ever. CJ decided to use the life lessons she had learned, along with her knowledge of victims’ issues, to address violence and crime on a global level. This led her to write a self-empowerment book for women and girls entitled The Badass Girl’s Guide: Uncommon Strategies to Outwit Predators.

Filled with critical information about how to empower yourself to keep from becoming a crime statistic, this definitive, comprehensive guide contains facts and strategies not found in other personal security books. From tips on how to “fail” the predator interview and avoid being targeted, to instructions on using your personal bodily “weapons” to defend yourself in a confrontation, CJ Scarlet offers everything you need to know to stay safe, fight if you must and navigate the criminal justice process if the worst happens.

CJ holds a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Wesleyan College, and an interdisciplinary M.A. in Humanities with an emphasis on Human Violence and graduate certificate in Women’s Studies from Old Dominion University.

The former roller-skating car hop, U.S. Marine and forest firefighter is an award-winning writer, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. She has given presentations and workshops at national and international events, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including MSNBC and NPR. CJ has also been named one of the “Happy 100” people on the planet, and is featured in the bestselling books, Happy for No Reason and Be Invincible.