THE NEED for self-defense is inarguable. Who doesn’t want to feel safer in an increasingly unsafe world?
That’s why the the Rape Crisis Center of the Coastal Empire is offering Safer U, a two-hour self-defense class, on Sunday, Aug. 5. Participants will participate in a prevention workshop, and then Todd Mashburn, a certified and experienced Krav Maga instructor, will lead the class.
“A lot of people don’t realize the mental part of self-defense,” explains Doris Williams, interim executive director of the Rape Crisis Center.
“Even when you ask a lady to yell, ‘Stop,’ you think you would say it automatically on cue, but sometimes you ask people to say it and they’re quiet. No, that’s not going to work! I don’t think people see that connection because we’re so polite—we’re taught to be that way.”
The Safer U class includes information about prevention because it builds confidence.
“I do so many things differently now,” says Williams. “You feel more confident. It’s going to help you find that voice to yell, ‘Stop!’ That fear goes away. It really affects your demeanor—you don’t realize you have that look of uncertainty.”
Williams stresses the importance of taking the class more than once to build on your skills.
“You don’t need to take it one time and be like, ‘Okay, I got this,’” she says. “You’re going to forget it. You have to do it more than one time. Pay attention to the techniques, what the instructor is saying. It’s about being engaged, and it’s also social peace—getting to know people, less anxiety. I think that confidence you feel when you’re walking alone makes you less vulnerable to an attacker. Nothing’s for sure, we can’t say that, but we can say you might gain some great skills that will help you get away from a dangerous situation.”
Williams has been working with the Rape Crisis Center for ten years, though her stint as the interim executive director is a little different from what she’s used to.
“I did the office management under the previous ED,” Williams explains. “I did accounting and HR work and the accounting included expenditure reports for the grants and the budget. I’ve gotten a lot of knowledge, but I’m still learning. I’m learning more about the prevention department, reading some of the core curriculum. I’m used to paying for locations and events, but now being more in tune with them is awesome.”
The Rape Crisis Center’s programming is all about bettering the community through action and prevention.
“That’s one thing I love about this place—we’re trying our best to close our business,” laughs Williams. “You can’t prevent everything, but we can do our best to try to reduce assaults and keep people out of danger. That’s the part that gives balance for me every day.”