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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Women learn to fight back

    Walking around campus alone at night can frighten even the bravest of souls. Dark alleys and dim streetlights make safety an important issue, especially for women. When pepper spray isn’t enough, UA’s Women’s Resource Center offers free self-defense to help make sure women stay safe.

    Rape Aggression Defense Systems, or R.A.D., classes are offered as an extra measure to educate women on conflict resolution and self-defense. They are taught by a group of trained instructors from ELLA group, an organization designed to help women and children learn protective behaviors.

    Becky Butler, self-defense coordinator at the WRC and psychology junior, said everyone should learn to be safe.

    “”I mean, the world is a little dangerous,”” Butler said. “”It’s always a good idea to have at least basic knowledge of how to get yourself out of a dangerous situation.””

    Butler said the classes require no degree of athletic ability, and the moves and techniques are designed so anyone can do them.

    Most of the classes teach women how to avoid danger, without conflict, by using generic moves during dangerous situations. An advanced class focuses more on techniques for life-threatening situations, such as chokeholds or bear hugs, she said.

    “”We have a statistic at the WRC that one in four college-aged women will be sexually assaulted during their college career,”” Butler said. “”Just having a knowledge will make you feel a little more comfortable.””

    Jaclyn Staub, a biology freshman, said if she were attacked she would be left defenseless.

    “”I don’t know any (self-defense),”” Staub said. “”If someone comes up and grabs me, I don’t think I would know how to defend myself, I would just scream.””

    Basic self-defense classes will be held Feb. 21 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Campus Health Services building. For those who finish basic training and would like to continue, an advanced class will be held Sunday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    These classes are free and only require a $20 deposit to hold a spot. The money is returned upon attendance, Butler said.

    Programs such as SafeRide and SafeWalk are other alternatives that help women stay safe, by allowing them to avoid walkinghome alone, Staub said.

    “”If I’m by myself I will call [SafeRide],”” Staub said. “”I’m too afraid of the hobos.””

    Administrative Director of SafeRide Brittany Smith said SafeRide is a valuable resource that everyone on campus should take advantage of.

    “”It would be terrible if something happened on campus in a situation where someone could have called SafeRide ð- that’s upsetting to me,”” Smith said.

    SafeRide also hands out free pepper spray, and drivers usually keep it in their cars, she said.

    “”I tell girls all the time to have your pepper spray out and have your hand on it, because it’s not going to do you any good if it’s in your purse,”” Smith said.

    She said SafeRide is open Sunday through Thursday 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Friday 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

    SafeWalk, another program offered by the WRC, is an alternative to SafeRide. People traveling within campus boundaries can call SafeWalk between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and two volunteers from the WRC will walk them to their desired location, Butler said.

    Butler, who also volunteers as a SafeWalker, said she always tries to crack jokes, to make the process more comfortable.

    “”I don’t necessarily think it’s awkward, just because you’re with two people who know each other through the WRC,”” Butler said. “”Even if it’s a strange conversation for that five to 10 minutes, I would rather do that than to have terrible consequences instead.””

    Smith believes that even having two girls walking home alone at night is unsafe.

    “”I think it’s important that women realize Tucson is not the safest place,”” said Smith. “”You need to be aware and be prepared.””

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