LT offers Self Defense class for females

Macy Hepokoski, InDepth Editor

When the fall 2020 school year started, a new class was offered for students who identified as female at LT. Basic Self Defense for girls is a semester long class that counts toward a Physical Education credit. Lindsey Wilson ‘23 is currently enrolled in the Self Defense course and already feels more capable of protecting herself, Wilson said.

I think it is extremely important to have a self defense class at LT because so many women have been or will be a victim of some type of assault, and this prepares women from a young age to protect themselves in the worst situations,” Wilson said.  

While Wilson has only been in the class for two months, knowing that she has the ability to escape helps her feel safe and comfortable, Wilson said. PE teacher Katarina Beyer has taught self defense since it became available at LT, and is aware of just how important this class is.

“Sadly, if [someone] looks at statistics regarding assault, the need for self defense instruction is apparent,” Beyer said. “We want to prepare our students to be aware of surroundings and to use their knowledge and skill[s] to hopefully prevent an attack.”  

Students not only learn physical skills, but also how to avoid attacks, see the signs of possible abuse, and much more.  

My favorite part about self defense is the open environment,” Wilson said. “The class discusses difficult topics such as abuse, assault, and other violence, so having a class where I feel comfortable is very important.”

The class is a safe space for females at LT to discuss issues and lift each other up in the process, Beyer said. Outside of physical skills, the class revolves around teaching females how to communicate in healthy ways, stand up for themselves, and support each other.

As we practice skills together, we encourage each other to be stronger and more confident,” Beyer said. “As we learn about issues related to self defense, we learn ways to create the best possible situation for ourselves.”

The class practices their skills twice a week, and has non-dress days where they discuss and learn more information regarding how to stay safe, Wilson said.

“I wanted to take self defense to better learn how to protect myself in order to gain more confidence,” Wilson said. “I wanted to learn the most effective ways of defense that I could use if the situation arose. It is very important to know these basic skills as the statistics are stacked against me and all women.”

The class is currently offered to junior and senior females as a PE course and is taught through the Rape Agression Defense Systems (R.A.D.) course. This semester, there are three classes totaling to about 95 students taking the course, Beyer said.

“My hope is that our students feel empowered to communicate in healthy ways, recognize and stand up for what is right for themselves, and support each other through tough times,” Beyer said.