In what may be the first of several such events, more than 30 women
staffers gathered at the Fleischman Building on December 15 for an Introduction
to Women’s Self-Protection class. The class focused on strategies
to avoid potentially dangerous situations, as well as on self-defense
Susan Montgomery-Hodge (UCAR President’s office) and Judith Berner
(ASP), both of whom take a form of Tae Kwon Do that has a self-defense
emphasis, conceived of the class as a way to educate their female colleagues
about the dangers of being assaulted. They organized the program with
their Tae Kwon Do instructor, CGD’s Erik Kluzek. Erik, a fourth-degree
black belt in Tae Kwon Do, has been an instructor for 15 years, and taught
women’s self-protection for 7 years in cooperation with a rape
crisis center in Utah.
Susan Montgomery-Hodge aims for Erik Kluzek’s
kneecap to fend off a mock
“We want to help other women who don’t have time or focus
to take Tae Kwon Do,” Susan explains. “This is to give women
a few more tools to protect themselves.”
During the 55-minute class, Erik emphasized that if a woman is attacked,
it is not her fault. The fault lies with the assailant who is forcing
her to a make difficult choice of whether to fight back and, if so, how.
Awareness of her surroundings, including possible attackers, and acting
in an assertive manner if her instincts tell her something is not right
will help to greatly reduce the need for aggression or self-defense,
Also sharing information at the presentation was Dr. Marti Hopper, adult
prevention education coordinator at Moving to End Sexual Assault (formerly
the Boulder County Rape Crisis Team). Marti shared a startling statistic:
one in four Colorado women will have experienced a completed or
attempted sexual assault during her lifetime.
Erik noted that women are more likely to be attacked by someone they
know, who is unarmed, than by a stranger. Marti stated that “a
majority of rapes occur in a home or other living unit, rather than on
- Know their victim
- Establish trust with the victim
- Invade the victim’s personal space, whether verbally or
physically (staring at her body, getting too close, touching her
in a way that is inappropriate or makes her uncomfortable)
- Ignore or dismiss the victim’s comments, suggestions, or
requests, and refuse to take no for an answer
- Isolate the victim (most sexual assault is committed in private
where the potential victim is more vulnerable)
Alcohol is a factor in the majority of rapes, whether used by the victim
or the perpetrator. If someone is pushing drugs or alcohol, a woman needs
to ask herself why and possibly remove herself from that situation.
Erik and Susan demonstrated some self-defense moves that may enable a
victim to flee her attacker. Susan stressed that if a woman chooses to
fight, then she needs to fight as aggressively as possible.
Erik told the group, “The motive of most rapists is power and control.
Statistically, the most effective strategies to use
if you are assaulted are: yell and scream, fight back, and
The class, a brown bag lunch, touched on just a few areas of self-protection.
Because of staff interest, a longer seminar has been scheduled for Saturday,
April 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Fleischman Building boardroom.
Additional seminars may be scheduled as well. Look for announcements
in This Week or contact Susan at ext. 1653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nancy, employment administrator in Human Resources, is an occasional
contributor to SN Monthly.
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