NMSU PD teaches the value of 'Fighting Like a Girl'
A self-defense program taught monthly by instructors from the New Mexico State University Police Department is proof that "fighting like a girl" can be a positive thing.
According to www.crisisconnectioninc.org, every 21 hours, a rape occurs on a college campus somewhere in America. The women who attended the Fight Like a Girl course at the NMSU Activity Center on Feb. 23, learned that an attacker selects his victim in about seven seconds. It is common for a person to text or to use an iPod or other electronic device while walking alone, making them less aware of their surroundings. A woman who is fully aware of her surroundings is less of a target, the instructors said.
"A self-defense course is critical, particularly for women, to install confidence and gain tools to be able to protect themselves in the event of an attack," said Amanda Bowen, crime prevention coordinator for the NMSU Police Department.
The Fight Like a Girl program is different from other self-defense programs, because the system is taught in reverse. The Fight Like a Girl module starts with the sexual assault position and works backwards from there. While the course covers avoidance and evasion, one of the core principles is that the defendant always knows she can escape the worst position possible, so any of the others are relatively simple to handle by comparison, Bowen said.
"Practicing the typical attack scenarios helps build a response into the defender that, when assaulted, will result in an automatic reaction," Bowen said. "We hope that the program helps to prevent an attack before it happens, but we want women to feel prepared if they ever do have to fight for their life."
Women aged 16-24 are the most vulnerable to an attack, but women of all ages should be prepared, Bowen said.
"We have successfully taught women of every age category and physical capability," Bowen said. "All women can benefit from educating themselves."
The instructors also taught that a simple "stay back" can help in social situations where the woman feels uncomfortable or threatened, but sometimes a more forceful technique may be necessary. It is important for a woman to be vocal and make a scene to draw attention when she is attacked, regardless of the attacker's threats, the instructors said.
The next Fight Like a Girl course will be taught Feb. 27.
For more information or to register for the course, contact Bowen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the NMSU PD at 646-3311.
Written by Kristina Medley.