Women learn how to defend themselves

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2005

The bruises.

The raging battles.

“My ex-husband and I fought all the time,” said Princess Dickerson, a local beauty shop owner. “When you are in that situation all the time, there is a lot of anger. Sooner or later, you get to the point you explode.”

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Even though her violent marriage ended nearly a decade ago, Dickerson is painfully aware of just how important it is for women to know how to protect themselves.

That why she joined nearly three dozen others Tuesday at a women’s safety seminar, co-sponsored by the offices of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, the Suffolk Sheriff and Suffolk Police Department.

The event at Triple T Sports Center, on East Constance Road, was held in recognition of October’s designation as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Crime Prevention Awareness Month.

Domestic violence continues to be a problem in the United States, said Diana Klink, spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Attorney.

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice recorded 588,490 cases of domestic violence.

“In other words, 67 women are victimized by intimate partners every hour,” Klink said.

Tyrone Burks, owner of Triple T, and self-defense expert Wayne Spencer, with help from several volunteers from the Suffolk Sheriff’s Department, spent nearly two hours helping seminar participants learn the basics of how to protect themselves.

With a few jabs of the elbows, knees targeted to appropriate spots and pinkies yanked in the right direction, prospective victims can significantly weaken an attackers’ advances, said Spencer.

Pairing participants with volunteers, the women got some hands-on training: how to trip an attacker, how yanking a finger can break an assailant’s stronghold n and hopefully his finger, how a few jabs with the elbow can knock an attacker to the ground.

Everything is fair game when you are the victim of an attack, said Deputy Eddie Harville, demonstrating a move with senior citizen Linell Brown.

“When someone is trying to kill you, nothing is off limits,” he said. “Put every bit of concern for the other person out the door. When someone grabs you, you have to make them regret it.”

Leigh Ann Graham said hopefully she will never have to put the tactics she picked up at the self-defense seminar to the test.

“But I think I’ll leave here tonight with more self-confidence that I can protect myself. If something happens, I think things I’ve learned tonight will come back to me.”

Dee Hill, who came to the seminar with friends, agreed.

She stays proactive in keeping safe, by using motion-sensor outside lights, keeping her doors locked, not going out at night alone.

“But you can never know too much,” Hill said. “Knowledge is power.”