Self-defense seminar set

Published 10:19 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

A seminar set for next week aims to help women learn self-defense techniques and connect them with resources for domestic violence victims.

The free seminar will be held Oct. 30, at the Triple T Sports Center, 619 E. Constance Road, from 6 to 8 p.m. It is open to the public.

Citizens will receive specialized self-defense training from defense tactics instructors and be able to connect with several community resources that can help them.

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“It’s not making them into superheroes, but it’s giving them the option of not being a victim,” said Sonya Abbott of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Victim/Witness Services.

The seminar is being held in October in observance of National Domestic Violence Month and National Crime Prevention Month.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44 in the United States, according to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. A woman is beaten every nine seconds. The violence affects not only the partner who is abused, but also children in the home who observe the violence.

“During the month of October, all Americans should contemplate the scars that domestic violence leaves on our society and what each of us can do to prevent it,” Commonwealth’s Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson said in a press release. “By taking strong public action against this crime, we are creating a society that promotes strong values, fosters a safe, loving home environment for every family, and refuses to tolerate domestic violence in any form.”

Agencies collaborating on the effort include the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Victim/Witness Services, Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Genieve Shelter and the U.S. Navy’s Fleet and Family Support Centers Mid-Atlantic.

“I think it’s very beneficial,” said Marleisa Montgomery, shelter director for the Genieve Shelter. “I think this is a good, collaborative effort of all the community agencies to come together to work on this project.”

Terra Flahardy, domestic abuse victim advocate with Fleet and Family Support Centers, said women at the seminar also will learn the importance of a safety plan, which includes having an escape route from your home, having a safe place to go where the abuser will not find you and having emergency supplies, such as a car key, clothing, cash and important papers, stowed in a safe place.

“It becomes second-nature, and it gives them a sense of power over their situation,” she said.

Diane Bryant, director of Victim/Witness Services, said the event is important because it lets women know about the resources available for them.

“Every situation is not necessarily helpless or hopeless,” she said.

Women planning to attend the seminar should dress comfortably. For more information, call 514-4373.