Women learn how to protect themselves from attack

Megan Crawford

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, one in six women in American will be a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime, and every two minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted. 

Last week on the Northwest Missouri State University campus, the community had the chance to complete a self-defense training course conducted by the Campus Safety department.

Campus Safety Officers Kristina Martinez and Dru Burns teamed up to teach the four-night class.

Ladies from all walks of life participated in the free class, and all came out feeling a source of empowerment.

Stephanie Boeth, a freshman at Northwest, said she had taken a self-defense class before, but felt the one at Campus Safety taught her a lot more.

"You feel confident and you never feel like you're in a hopeless situation," she said.

She added that the class went more in depth and gave the participants time to test out what the instructors were telling them. She also said it was a lot more fun than you might expect a self-defense course to be.

"I would tell others to definitely take it," Boeth said. "It's a lot of time, but it's worth it. You can never be too prepared."

Community member Jeanette Barcus also took the course last week, and found that it gave her more confidence, and made her feel like she knew what to do in a rape aggression situation in the future.

Barcus has always wanted to take a course, but said she had always been a little hesitant.

"But it was fun, worthwhile," she said. "It was a good experience, and it wasn't scary."

After the simulation portion of the training course, Burns, who dressed up in padding to be the "attacker" in the exercise, said he felt like this group of women were the quickest as a whole.

Martinez gave each of the women several scenarios, such as a walk in the park, or an attempt to get money out of ATM, where Burns then came up behind them. The women were instructed to pay attention to Burns to see if he was getting too close. When he attacked, Martinez was there to offer vocal coaching as each of the women used punches, kicks and elbows to release themselves from the attacker's grip.

"I tried to talk my way in, but you were all very alert," Burns said to the participants. "It's good to be nervous that I was back there. I was very impressed with your executions."

Barcus said she was surprised at how intense it was for such a short time.

Boeth added that while she knew everything the instructors had taught them, it was kind of a different story when she faced an actual situation. She said that once she got in there she almost forgot what to do, but her instincts kicked in.

She also found out the hard way that she needed to run the first time she got out of his grip. When she didn't run right away during one scenario, Burns grabbed her once again, and Boeth had to fight a second time.

Zylpha Duffy also took part in the course, and said she learned a lot, including how easy it can be to defend yourself if you educate yourself on how to do that.

"It's so easy to get away if you know how to," she said.

Martinez and Burns used the Rape Aggression Defense System to educate the women, not only about defending themselves, but also about avoidance and escape.

"If a person can't remove you from where you are, they probably can't be aggressive enough toward you to attack," Martinez said.

Maryville Daily Forum