By HEATHER HESSELINK and CRYSTAL HUGHES, Staff Writers
It is every woman’s right to know she can protect herself from harm. For many women, that life-saving skill is learned only after they have become victims.
October was Domestic Violence Awareness month. Throughout the month a variety of awareness activities were sponsored by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe (SCIT).
One such event was self-defense training by Kirk Dewitt, a certified trainer and a former police and corrections officer.
A self-defense class can be an empowering and life-saving tool that can make the difference in a life-or-death situation. Every year more and more women find themselves victims of domestic violence. Attacks often come from a spouse or someone they trust, but some women find themselves assaulted by someone they don’t know. Self-defense classes can give women the strength to know they will not “freeze up” when put into a situation that can result in death. It also teaches that there are many more situations in which these valuable tools can come in handy.
It is important for every woman to recognize and understand what types of situations should be avoided. Taking simple steps, such as staying with a group when you are partying, can help reduce the risk of becoming a victim yourself.
If you feel like you are being stalked in public, draw attention to yourself and stay in a public place. The last thing your attacker wants is for attention to be drawn to him or you.
If put in a life-or-death situation, Dewitt demonstrated that the easiest targets to go for are the eyes. You can blind your attacker and give yourself the time needed to escape.
Self-defense classes are often empowering and life-saving. Taking one class at a time, women will be able to take back the night and avoid becoming victims. It is important to remember that you must take more than one class to be able to perform each strategy correctly.
(Heather Hesselink and Crystal Hughes participated in a self-defense class sponsored by the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe as part of their research for this story.)