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DCSO offers women’s self- defense classes

With an ever increasing number of women coming forward in the #MeToo movement and the current sexual trafficking climate, Decatur County Sheriff’s Office has decided to offer a free self defense course for women, known as R.A.D. (rape aggression defense).

The classes are 12-hour courses that build on each other. Therefore, the Sheriff’s office has decided to split them up into two weekends, January 11 and January 18 from 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. They will be open to all females age 15 and older, due to the sensitive sexual nature that will be discussed and the topic of rape.  The class will only be for females, so they can learn how to properly defend themselves and support other females in times of crisis.

The class will be instructed by Investigator Justin Kelly and Sergeant Charles King, with guest, Chris Lueck, who just completed teaching the R.A.D. class at FSU. The Sheriff’s Office also plans to have a female officer in attendance for support.

Erica Hitchcock, who is in charge of the class, said the first few hours of the class will be introductions, filling out registration forms and signing release waivers.

“All participants will have to sign a release waiver because the class is physical,” she said.

Upon completing the introductions, officers will talk about the local statistics in the categories of sexual assault and sexual battery. They will then help women understand what stalking and sexual battery or assault consists of and how to reduce the risk of being a victim to these crimes.

Women will first learn how to use their body as a weapon, if they are not carrying anything to protect themselves. They will learn about vulnerable places on the body to strike when defending themselves, among other things. Officers will walk them through these moves, but also explain risk reduction strategies, so women hopefully never have to use these tactics.

One of the topics will be on date rape patterns. Officers will discuss the obvious ways to prevent it, such as paying attention to whatever one is drinking, but will also share other ways to become aware.

In the second weekend of classes, women will put what they learned to the test.

Officers will warm up with them and then review stances and blocks they already learned before showing them moves such as the street kick and the knee swipe. The women will then be suited up and can go in and fight, and learn what it’s like to actually hit someone and use these preventive measures.

Hitchcock is excited about the class for women. She said it is something they used to offer and they took a hiatus, but they think now is an appropriate time to bring it back.

The class will be capped off at 20 women max and to register email eswain@decaturso.com or call 229-248-3044.