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UALR students can get self-defense lessons for free

Submitted by Kezia Nanda on September 19, 2013 – 11:23 amNo Comment

Rape is a serious problem. A woman is raped every five minutes according to the U.S. Department of Justice in 1994. UALR’s Crime Prevention Officer, Jennifer Sibley, added that rape happens more on campus than anywhere else. A program to combat sexual assaults called RAD or Rape Aggression Defense stated that 74% of the time, an attacker will leave if the target uses a self-defense technique.

Mastering self-defense techniques does not mean that you need to be like Jackie Chan or get a black belt in Taekwondo. Sibley, a certified RAD, said, “90% of self-defense is knowing how to not put yourself in a bad situation.”

Sibley gave out some of the most essential defense methods for Forum readers. Staying safe includes not taking so many chances, not walking out alone at night, and not being on a cell phone when walking alone. Paying attention to your surrounding, asking a UALR police officer to escort you, and knowing exactly where you are and where you are going are all considered self-defense.

Self-defense stance is the first move anyone should do when an attacker is close by. It consists of a steady stand with the strong leg slightly behind the other, both hands raised to cover vulnerable points, and a readiness to hit and yell. If someone touches, pushes, or comes towards you aggressively, then you can hit him or her. Punching someone just because he or she looks scary is not a self-defense. Before that, the best thing to do is to be in self-defense stance and to yell the word “No!”.

Illustration by Byron Buslig

Yelling “No!” has several benefits. In Arkansas, not saying “No” is considered as giving a consent. Yelling can also attract witnesses and the more witnesses, the less chance that the attacker will rape you. There is a chance the attacker will look around to see if there is a witness, and that is the time for you to hit him or her. According to Sibley, who has worked in prison, women who plead and beg innocently will usually get raped.

Making an eye contact is very important. This can help you identify the attacker to the police. Tell the police immediately when someone seems to be stalking you or keeps looking at your window. This may not only help you, but also other targets and the attacker himself or herself. It may stop him or her from raping someone and going to jail.

One UALR student, who requested anonymity, has been followed by two men in her hometown. She was with her two female friends at an unfamiliar place. They immediately realized that they were in danger when one of the two men started to grab her hand and tell her that they wanted to “hang out” with her. She started to run away and pull her two friends with her. The two men ran after them. Fortunately, these girls saw a policeman and asked for help. The policeman asked them to hide behind some shelves and he called another policeman to stop the two men and interrogated them. Sibley mentioned that running away is not a good option, especially when someone is at an unfamiliar place, because the attacker hopes that the target would make a wrong turn to a hidden road. Attacker are also more familiar with the area.

Since self-defense is not a class at UALR, Officer Sibley is willing to come to resident halls or other place on campus to teach self-defense techniques to anyone at UALR for free. She said anyone can call her and schedule a lesson with her at their convenience. Sibley said there are no drawbacks in knowing how to defend oneself.

“I love seeing very shy, timid women, come out being confidence. It’s a great feeling to know that you can take care of yourself. I’ve had phone calls from three to five a.m. in the morning from students saying it worked,” said Sibley.

After learning some techniques, according to Sibley, it is important to learn a particular technique and be really good at it. Few UALR students revealed their best technique. A sophomore, majoring in Theatre, said that she puts her keys between her fingers when she is walking alone at night. A freshman, majoring in Computer Science, said her favorite self-defense move is to palm someone on the face or throat.

Sibley said one in four women and one in six men are rape victims. She does not want UALR students to be bystanders, but rather take care of each other like a family. When you see something happening to other people, report it right then. Think and ask yourself, “What if it was my sister?”


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