By Sydney Yalshevec
Reporter 

Kimball PD holds women's self defense class

 

Sydney Yalshevec

Chief Huff leads local women in defense exercises in the Kimball High School wrestling room.

One out of every five American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Girls ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. 93 percent of juvenile adolescent sexual assault victims know their attacker. These statistics from the Department of Justice 2010 and U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, are just some of the harsh facts surrounding women and the violence that affects them.

In the year 2012, The University of Wyoming had five reported forcible sexual assaults. The University of Nebraska Lincoln reported three forcible sexual assaults. Chadron State College reported one. According to the Annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Reports for the aforementioned colleges as well as Western Nebraska Community College and Laramie County College, the crimes that were most committed were drug and alcohol related. The second most were burglaries, and third most were assault and battery. Unfortunately, where sexual assault is concerned, these numbers only include the reported incidents.

Statistics also show that women will fall victim to those who they already know, a family member or intimate partner. The latter mentioned can be a rough spot, especially for younger girls who may be in their first relationship. Parents must teach their children, young men and women about sexual consent. Boys who witness their fathers' violence are ten times more likely to commit spousal abuse later in life. Often times people in a relationship feel entitled to sexual intercourse from their intimate partner, when, in fact, that is not the case. Of the women who reported being raped, 63.84 percent of them were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2010.

These numbers are rather disturbing, and cause concern to many women and parents of young women. Those about to go to college and those in college are the women statistically most likely to fall victim to a sexual assault crime. However, there are steps and precautions that can be taken in order to improve the assurance of safety.

Classes regarding women's self defense can be found in several cities, and some colleges even offer those courses. In Kimball, a women's self defense class is offered by the Kimball Police Department. Two officers trained in combative and defensive tactics teach the class and hope to offer women peace of mind.


Chief Huff and Officer Thomas of the Kimball Police Department are the two teaching the course. The course is held on three Saturdays, April 5, 26, and May 3, from nine in the morning till noon.

"This will be the second year that it's been done here. I am going to try to make it an annual thing. The only difference this year from what we've done in the past is that we used to have it only open to adult women, 18 and over. This year, we changed that, because there has been a lot of interest shown by the younger girls at the high school and things like that, getting ready to go to college. They want to be ready and to have some skill sets to be able to protect themselves," Huff said.

Huff is trained in Krav Maga, and Thomas in Jiu Jitsu. Thomas is also a trained MMA fighter and has competed in the UFC. Both are putting their collective knowledge as fighters and officers together in order to help teach women to not be victims.

"I hate that word, victim. I want to teach women that they are equally as capable as a man. So if they find themselves in a situation, they are confident in their ability," Huff said.

This past Saturday Huff and Thomas taught three Kimball women statistics surrounding sexual assault and a few simple techniques to help when dealing with an attacker.

"It takes 250 pounds of pressure to break someone's clavicle," Huff said.

Huff then demonstrated the palm strike in connection with breaking an untreated pine, one inch thick board. This board can be broken with the amount of pressure needed to break a clavicle. Along with this palm strike, Huff and Thomas taught the women the most effective stance and where to hold their fists when faced with an attacker.

Huff and Thomas are teaching this class for two more Saturdays, and they will be teaching ground fighting techniques along with improvised weapons.

"We'll be teaching things like how to get a two, three hundred pound man off of a hundred pound woman. On the last Saturday, we'll have a mock knife attacker so that the women can put everything they've learned to use," Huff said.

The mock knife fight uses a fake knife covered in lipstick. This allows the women to see where they have been struck with the knife and to assess their strategy and technique.

"Women are more likely to be attacked and more likely to be seen as prey, so we'd like to give them the techniques to not be a victim and to be confident," Thomas said.

The women's defense class is also designed to teach women to be more aware of their surroundings. The class discouraged women from being too distracted with things like their cell phones or digging around in their purse when walking in parking lots or walking alone. Even though a lot of women might feel that if they look engaged with their phone they are less likely to be approached or bothered, due to a lack of possible eye contact with a stranger, they are actually making themselves a more appealing target. When engaged with a cell phone or something else a person is less aware of their surroundings, which allows an attacker to control a situation where they could be able to kidnap or assault an unaware target.

The women's self defense class taught by Huff and Thomas is free. Women who wish to attend the class must call the police department and register. Huff hopes to offer the class on an annual basis.

Women are more likely to be victims of sexual assault than men. This however, does not mean that women have to be victims. With defense techniques and awareness of surroundings, women can decrease the likelihood that they'll fall prey to a sexual predator. There are also other resources available for women, especially college students. Coasters that have been chemically treated to detect common "date rape" drugs in a beverage can be purchased from respectable labs online. While these coasters have been known to give a false positive in some instances, it is the mind set of 'better safe than sorry' that move people to purchase them. There are also other self defense items that can be purchased that are small enough to fit on a key chain.

Where defensive techniques lack, preventative techniques pick up the slack. Despite some peoples' views sexual consent is not a common sense issue for a lot of America. It must be taught with sexual education classes. Most women are assaulted by someone they know and this means that more often than not when a woman said "no," she was ignored. It must be taught and instilled in people what consent is and what consent isn't.

Hopefully, with the combined efforts of women's self defense and consent education, the numbers of sexual assault victims that haunt America will see a decrease.

 

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