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Seminar, self defense classes teach girls to fight back

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Seminar, self defense classes teach girls to fight back

•Katherine Wiemold

•Katherine Wiemold

•Katherine Wiemold

Kayleigh Padar

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Girls Fight Back has hosted self defense classes throughout the district for the past few weeks in order to teach girls how to respond in situations involving street harassment.

“Unfortunately, girls are more often targets of violence. We do this class here at school so that girls can feel confident about being away from home as they go off to college. We want girls to know how to take care of themselves which will help their self esteem,” physical education teacher Danielle Freeman said.

The first Girls Fight Back event the district sponsored was a 60-90 minute seminar at Forest View on April 15. It was open to any woman who was 13 years or older and lived in the district. On April 16 and 17, all junior and senior girls went to Fight Like a Girl self defense classes during their gym periods.

“I went to the Forest View class, and then during my gym class. The class at Forest View was better because they taught more advanced moves. It was more in-depth,” junior Sidney Taylor said.

Girls Fight Back advertised that participants learned, “the basics of personal safety and self-defense, including how to set boundaries and convey strong body language, practical and effective self-defense strategies any girl can use regardless of size.”

“During the verbal portion of the lesson [in gym classes], the kids seemed very tuned in. It seemed like something they valued and something that really spoke to them,” Freeman said.

The Girls Fight Back Seminar was created after, Erin Weed, the founder’s close friend and D214 alumni, Shannon McNamara, was murdered in college. Weed was inspired by the way McNamara fought back against her attacker and decided to create a program to teach girls techniques with a “fun and empowering” attitude.

Students who attended the classes felt like they learned practical skills that they could use to defend themselves in the future.

“I had never learned how to fight against people before. I feel like now I have an actual technique that will could hurt someone and keep me safe,” senior Linnea Solak said.

Many students understood the importance of empowering themselves with this knowledge.

“The chances are very high that something bad will happen to us someday, even if it’s not a rapist, we have to know how to defend ourselves,” Solak said.

Some students saw the class as an opportunity to prepare for college and living alone.

“Lots of colleges don’t allow you to have mace to protect yourself because it’s a weapon. So, I’m gonna make my body a weapon,” Taylor said.

Along with practical skills, the classes gave girls a sense of confidence.

“I feel prepared enough to fight anyone ever, so watch out,” Solak said.

More Girls Fight Back and Fight Like a Girl classes will be held throughout the district throughout the month.

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Kayleigh Padar, Editor-in-Chief, The Correspondent

Senior Kayleigh Padar is an editor-in-chief of The Correspondent and has served on staff since 2015.  She previously served as a news editor, editorial...

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