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Self-defense class to teach women to resist attacks
Students to get chance to demonstrate new skills
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Rape Aggression Defense Course

What: A basic physical defense program to teach women how to avoid sexual assaults
When: 6-9 p.m., Jan. 24, 26, 31 and Feb. 2
Where: Mulberry Creek Park, 4491 JM Turk Road, Flowery Branch, 30542
How much: $35
For more information, email Jeannie Nash at jnash@gsc.edu
Register for classes through Monday at Mulberry Creek Park or by calling 770-965-7140.

If statistics are correct, a woman has a high chance of being the victim of a sexual assault in her lifetime.

The FBI estimates one in four women will be sexually assaulted during her life and a quarter of college women have either been raped or suffered attempted rape.

That's why Jeannie Nash, a self-defense instructor at Gainesville State College, is encouraging women to be prepared before it happens.

"It's kind of like insurance, you have to get it before you need it," Nash said.

Because women are often the victims of sexual assaults, Nash said they need to be prepared both physically and mentally.

"Most women do not know how to handle an assault or attack of a physical nature," Nash said. "They don't know how to recognize that it's coming before they even touch them. And most women, when they are in a threatening or challenging situation, oftentimes do nothing more than verbally say ‘no.'"

In most cases of attempted rape or assault, the outcome is left up to the victim's defense because the attack is normally secluded.

Nash, along with two other instructors, will lead a four-session Rape Aggression Defense course for women . The classes begin Jan. 24 at Mulberry Creek Park in Flowery Branch.

"It's a 12-hour program that teaches women how to mentally recognize the signs of violence and teach them how to physically escape from a physical altercation," Nash said.

During the last class on Feb. 2, Gainesville State College police officers will simulate an attack and allow participants test the skills they have learned.

Many women don't realize they have the ability to escape an attack because many cases are not premeditated, Nash said.

"The truth of the matter is most women can escape an assault or attempt because most assailants are just opportunists taking advantage of a situation, knowing that most women never resist," she said.

Women victims of aggressive acts by men are a worldwide issue and not just a local issue, Nash said.

According to statistics provided by the Hall County Sheriff's Office, there were 86 reported cases of rape and 32 cases of juvenile rape from 2007 to 2011. In that period there was one reported case of attempted rape.

Through the defense course, Nash hopes to reduce those figures.

A key focus is changing the mentality of women to avoid inflicting pain on others, Nash said.

"Most women are hesitant to physically hurt another person even when that other person is hurting them ... and without the mental preparation, they will never be able to use the skills they have learned," she said.

Included in mental preparation is the ability to spot an attacker before the attack actually occurs, Nash said.
"Just like any other criminal act there's a process, and rape and assault against women is no different," she said.

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