Women's Safety Clinics teach self defense skills to all ages

WSLS 10 Anchor Karen McNew participated in a self-defense course administered by Roanoke City Police at Fleet Feet in November and shares her experience as she and other women learned to be safe in any situation. 

As I stood inside Fleet Feet after-hours, the store floor had been cleared and there were women of all ages waiting to learn skills that may be lifesaving one day. The moves we are about to learn are designed to stun an attacker. The goal is to be precise with those movements.

Roanoke City Police Sergeant, Jennifer Boswell  explains, "All of it is a strike remember you have a small chance. You want to use everything you've got to get out of this."

This is the fourth Women's Safety Clinic held at the store. Robin Lewis owns the store with her husband Blaine.  She says they want to do their part to try to keep women safe.  

She says, "The main reason we really wanted to get these going with the emphasis on women's safety and what's going in Charlottesville with the Hannah Graham disappearance and Morgan Harrington."

Those are two examples among many that remind us there are predators out there waiting to cause harm. There are several aspects to the class including being aware of our surroundings.  

Below are some more tips on staying safe: 

  • Walk in groups if possible
  • Let someone know where you are going
  • Avoid questionable people and situations, pay attention to body language
  • Have your keys ready
  • Keep your head up and looking around, be vigilant
  • Try not get locked into texting or looking at something while walking
  • Know where your cell is but maybe not be on it texting or reading in case you need to call 911
  • Avoid dark alleys or questionable obstacles example: between cars, dumpsters, don't walk next to a building but out from it so you can see around the corners
  • The closer someone gets to you get your hands should come up or get out of your pockets

Monday was Karen Dillon's second class. She explains, "

They teach awareness.  They also teach different holds, if someone were to come up behind you they teach you what you need to know how to do to get out of that situation."

Ultimately the goal is to help women have the skills and confidence to get out of a dangerous situation.  More classes are planned for next year with Fleet Feet Roanoke and Roanoke City Police. 

There will be two more clinics at Fleet Feet in January: Jan. 6 - 7:15 p.m. and Jan 26 7:15 p.m. One will be a level 2 class and the other a beginner.