Students learn self defense

By Allison Krecek

Nearly one in five women in the U.S. has been raped or suffered an attempted rape, according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, and NIU hopes to change those numbers.

Monday, Lesley Rigg, associate dean of research and graduate affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, along with colleagues Jennifer Kirk-Priest and Annie Oelschlager provided a short introduction class to women’s self defense.

“It’s not a self-defense course but an intro to introduce students into safety tips for around campus and the resources that are available,” Rigg said.

Rigg, Kirk-Priest and Oelschlager taught attendees punches, kicks, chokes and blocks they could use if they were being attacked.

“We put the women through some physical scenarios … to get them moving and get them thinking about their body as a weapon and what weapons they have on their body to defend themselves if needed,” Rigg said.

While the class was only an hour long, NIU is also providing a three-hour long Rape Aggression Defense class from 3 to 6 p.m. in Founder’s Memorial Library, Room 20, for four weeks every Tuesday starting today. If women are not able to take that class they are also able to take kinesiology 101 as a one-credit class or gather a group of six to 10 to create their class.

Rigg would like to make this class as accessible as possible to students so they can get the training and knowledge they need if attacked. The women were taught proper defense stances and tried out their new knowledge on blocking pads.

Jennifer Ballard, junior rehabilitation counseling major, heard about the class, and having family on the police force gave her an extra initiative to go.

“I thought it was an excellent class. I wish it was taught more often,” Ballard said. “It could teach women how to stay safe around campus and around town.”

The one-credit KNSP 101 class has only been recently introduced into NIU’s curriculum, and Rigg hopes it will grow and more women will be interested in taking it. Trying to help spread the message, Rape Aggression Defense collaborated with the First Year Success Series department. This is where junior journalism major Ericka Wilson got involved in the class.

“I actually work for the department that puts these types of events together, so I was kind of working and having fun at the same time,” Wilson said.

Wilson gathered new information on how to defend herself and was excited to learn her new moves, especially on how to properly punch a nose.

“I would definitely recommend this class because it is great and I hope that it continues to grow here on campus,” Wilson said.

While the class is relatively new it is Rigg’s hope that every woman on campus learns how to defend themselves properly.

“This class is important to women because it is self-empowering, but also the primary thing we teach women is to get away and to avoid confrontation … we wanna teach that confrontation is a last resort,” Rigg said.