UCAR Communications

 

staff notes monthly

February 2004

Staffers organize women’s self-protection class

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 techniques.

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, Erik said.
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 the street.”

Assailants typically:

  • 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
run away.”

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 montgoms@ucar.edu.

 •Nancy Wade

Nancy, employment administrator in Human Resources, is an occasional contributor to SN Monthly.


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