Women’s safety classes starting soon

By Gus Bode

According to the U.S. Justice Department, a woman in the United States is raped every two minutes. The Carbondale Police Department is working to keep the women of Carbondale from becoming a part of that statistic.

The first Personal Safety For Women class was scheduled for Saturday, but due to low enrollment, the class will not be held this week. The classes are designed to teach women about prevention, precaution and, if necessary, self-defense.

Officer Randy Mathis of the Carbondale Police Department will teach the classes. Mathis stressed that the classes are geared toward raising awareness and alertness, rather than self-defense.

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“It’s not a class to teach people how to fight,” Mathis said. “The goal is to create an opportunity to escape.”

The class is being offered with the help of the Carbondale Women’s Center and the SIU Student Health Center.

The next class is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 1. Classes are held at the Carbondale Police firing range a quarter mile south of Old Route 13 on Bigler Road.

“It’s a community-campus collaboration,” said Christy Hamilton, coordinator of relationship violence and sexual assault at the Student Health Center.

Hamilton said because a large number of attendees are students, the scheduling of the first class may interfere with some students’ responsibilities.

“Another bad part of this semester is that it’s midterms, so I’m wondering if they won’t have more participants in the November dates,” Hamilton said.

Sarah Anderson, a senior from Harrisburg studying radio-television, said she was not aware such classes were available.

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“If I lived in Carbondale, I would definitely come to it. I just think that any knowledge you gain on anything would be beneficial,” Anderson said.

Having been a victim of domestic abuse herself for seven years, Anderson said she sympathizes with other victims and believes courses such as these are invaluable.

“It really sucks, because you’re with somebody you love and you blame yourself for what’s going on,” Anderson said. “I’m out now, so that’s good, and that’s the hardest part – getting out.”

The classes will consist of a lecture portion, which will stress the prevention aspect of the program, including alertness and preparation, and two hands-on workshops designed to teach women what to do in case an assailant confronts them, whether it is a stranger or a loved one.

The classes are similar to the SIU police’s Rape Aggression Defense courses, which also teach women how to avoid being assaulted. The RAD program is also offered to children. Officers must be trained in each program in order to administer the classes.

The first RAD program is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22.

Daily Egyptian reporter David Lopez can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 273 or [email protected]

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