Self-Defense Seminar Promotes Women’s Safety


Morgan Pemberton, Reporter

One in four college women will be a victim of an assault and a recent Marshall University seminar sought to help women fight back.

“Women’s safety is certainly a priority within the society and community we live in,” recruitment counselor Olivia Allen said. “It is especially important that we educate these strong women on the values of self-defense. Using your voice is truly the key to fighting off unwanted situations, and this class solidifies this.”

Along with teaching them how to find their voice, the seminar also wanted to teach them self-defense stances, strikes, kicks and how to escape grabs. While they were not able to teach the women everything in two hours, they were taught the basics to give them an idea if they are ever in an attack or in a situation that makes them uncomfortable. 

“We prioritize women’s safety regardless if they are affiliated with a Greek organization or not,” panhellenic council President Rachael Caudill said, “We wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to all women on campus, interested or not, and show our values. As leaders on campus, we want to give the women on campus the best opportunities possible.” 

The council wants to create bonds with women by expanding their knowledge of self-defense and spreading it to these other women. In showing women how to find their voice, it was stressed that a woman’s voice is her strongest weapon. When they learn how to use it, potential attackers will normally back away. 

MUPD Sergeant Scott Ballou stressed that being aware of your surroundings was 90% of self-defense. The example he used to stress this point was a woman walking on campus or to her car while on the phone. He recommended that she call someone else beforehand and that she tell the other person she will call back when she gets to her car so that person can watch around their friend. 

Some attendees walked in not knowing that a small thing like carrying her keys a certain way could save her life Ballou explained. If a woman has a lanyard, which a lot of women carry, she can wrap it around her wrist-instead of having it hanging on her neck-to give he a weapon, Ballou added. This creates distance from the attacker and gives the woman a chance to get away. 

The attendees learned specific stances to be able to have balance and control in any situation. For instance, a cautious stance for when someone unknown approaches, a warning stance when a situation escalates along with yelling “Get back,” and a defensive stance while yelling “No,” and taking a step back to keep a safe distance from a stranger. 

These stances were the setup for the kicks, strikes and how to escape a grab, because with every strike and kick, the attendees went back to those exact stances to be ready. Attendees also yell “No” after every strike to alert people around and scare the attacker away.