Students learn to defend themselves against predators

Students gained an understanding of the frequency of sexual assaults and were also able to participate in hands-on demonstrations in order to learn to defend themselves at a self-defense workshop held on campus Nov. 18.

Junior Jake Levy, head instructor of the Martial Arts Club, emphasized that brute force is not necessarily the best thing to use during his class. He concentrated on moves that do not always require much effort, but are still effective.

“(Physical defense) isn’t the only thing students should know,” Levy said. “This is a last resort.”

Levy demonstrated basic blocking techniques, showing the location of key pressure points and emphasizing what he described as “the art of distraction.” When an assailant grabs a victim, the victim should deter his or her attacker by stomping on his or her foot or with a kick to their shin or their groin, Levy said. Mediha Kosovrasti, senior political science major and president of the College’s Women’s Center, spoke to the attendees about ways to decrease one’s odds of being assaulted. She suggested trusting instincts, utilizing the buddy system and removing oneself from a threatening environment immediately as ways to combat the possibility of violent action.

Kosovrasti provided the students with some statistics regarding the sexual assault of women. One in four women will be sexually assaulted at some point during their college career, and one in eight will be raped, she said. Eighty-seven percent of sexual assault and rape cases are committed by someone the victim knows, she said.

“There is a bias against women,” she said.

“The class was very helpful, plus it was fun,” Elizabeth Abken, freshman elementary education and psychology major, said. “I will definitely remember a few moves, like pressure points.”

“I came to the class so I can have a sense of security when walking alone around campus, or anywhere in general,” Robyn Seid, freshman elementary education and math, science and technology major, said.

Levy indicated which techniques were appropriate for which specific predicaments. For example, once a victim has achieved a dominant hold on an assailant, it is best to take advantage of pressure points to control the attacker. This is because people have a tendency to move away from pain and are then in a position to yield to the intended victim, he said.

Levy instructed the class by performing the most basic and fundamental self-defense moves along with two other members of the Martial Arts Club. Then he had the group try to duplicate the moves in pairs.

The seminar was coordinated by Noel Ramirez, sophomore communications and women’s and gender studies major, and Kasia Warchol, senior biology and elementary and deaf education major. The two are CAs and put the workshop together as an interactive educational program students can use in everyday life.

“Any information or awareness is important,” Ramirez said. “Sexual assault is a major issue.”

“After this class, I am definitely more confident about walking on campus after dark,” Valerie Holmes, freshman open options business major, said.

“This class really put things in perspective for me. I had no idea so many girls are affected by sexual assault,” Jamie Eichelberger, freshman special education and English major, said. “The numbers really are scary.”

Kosovrasti provided the students with a number of both on-campus and off-campus resources.

The office of Anti-Violence Initiatives is available on campus, while WomanSpace in Trenton offers counseling, a 24-hour hotline and a safe house for victimized women.

For more information on sexual assault visit the Women’s Center, located in the basement of Brower Student Center.