Cops show women how to stay safe in a dangerous world ...

May 02, 2007 at 2:49 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Women learned to kick, punch, spit, grab, scream and then runaway, from would-be attackers at a free self-defense class, April 26, at Destrehan High School.

St. Charles Parish police officers Lt. Pam Schmitt and Lt. Ricky Oubre, along with Chris Elliot, head of security for Valero, showed women techniques to help them defend themselves and become more aggressive against male attackers.

“There has been an increase in domestic violence incidents in the parish,” Schmitt told the Herald-Guide.

“Women need to learn to protect themselves against physical abuse, and whether it’s a man they are in a relationship with, or a complete stranger, the techniques I teach them could save their lives,” she added.

Schmitt warned women not to be afraid when taking on a male attacker even if he’s twice their size or weight.

“There are several vulnerable areas on the human body, the throat, the eyes, and specifically on a man, the groin area,” she said.

Schmitt noted that women can use their body parts as weapons.

“The elbow is pointed and hard at the end,” she said.

“Use it to jab the aggressor in the stomach. When he bends over in pain, break away, run as fast as you can, and then go get help.

“Use your fist to punch them in the throat. If that doesn’t work, use the top of your knee to injure the attacker in the groin area.”

Schmitt said too many women lack confidence and that makes them an easy target for an attack.

“Never walk with your head down,” she said.

“If you feel you’re being observed by a stranger and you’re in an unfamiliar area, walk as if you know where you’re going, and move briskly until you get to your car,”

“Never look like you’re afraid, because then the person trying to attack you might sense you’re uneasy and use it to their advantage,” she said.

“Your body language can tell a person a lot, so it’s important to make eye contact, walk assertively, not with your head down looking at the sidewalk or at your shoes,”

“Stare at the person long enough to make a mental record of what the person was wearing and any other identifiable features in case he does attempt to harm you.”

Two women who took the class for the first time felt confident after learning the techniques.

“I work in downtown New Orleans and I am taking this class for safety reasons,” Anna Jester, of Kenner, told the Herald-Guide.

“I work at a law firm in the central business district area and occasionally I’ve had to stay at the office past my 5:00 p.m. work day,” Jester said.

“I would rather be prepared in case I was ever attacked by someone rather than caught off guard.” she continued.

Christine Alexander, a Hahnville resident, took the course because she doesn’t believe in carrying a gun.

“I rather use my body to defend myself,” Alexander said.

“The course helped me to feel comfortable with taking on an aggressor and punching him areas you wouldn’t normally think of, like the bridge portion of the nose.”

Schmitt said she recommends women continue practing the techniques they learn in class by removing the cushions off their sofas at home, let someone put it in front of their bodies for protection, and keep practicing the moves they’ve learned to keep them from forgetting.

“I definitely want them to continue to practice,” she said.

Herald-Guide advisory: Practicing self-defense techniques can result in serious injury or death. Don’t try them at home without professional supervision or adequate training.


View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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