BEND, OR -- More than two-dozen women attended a special personal safety class, Saturday, at the Bend Municipal Court. Bend Police Sgt. Liz Lawrence and Angel Lotito, with Deschutes County Parole and Probation teach the free class a couple times a year, focusing on self-defense, security and awareness. "There isn’t a lot out there, besides going to a dojo or training in karate, that offers something about self-defense," Sgt. Lawrence tells KBND News. "And, I thought, wouldn’t it be good to have women come into an environment where it’s just women and they’re going to be comfortable asking questions and participating."
She says the ladies-only model is important to help empower women. "First of all, women learn differently. And, what can you do if you’re not that type of person to go to karate three times a week. What are some things that you should look for and know? And, be responsible for your own safety. Don’t always assume that somebody else is looking out for you."
Melanie Guinan, of Bend, took the class to learn how to get out of dangerous situations. "I’ve lived in NYC and I’ve spent a lot of time in DC and I’ve been in situations before where I definitely realize ‘I shouldn’t be here.’ And, your radar goes on and it’s just nice to know what you actually can do." She says she learned a lot during the weapons discussion. "The stun gun only annoys people; that it doesn’t really do anything. You think from the movies, you take them out, they’re down and they’re unconscious for like 10 minutes. And, the idea that you’re really only getting somebody annoyed with you, that’s the part that’s really surprising to me."
Rio attended the class with her mom, "To get bet a better knowledge about what you can do to help yourself in case of any dangerous situation. I just love hearing all the stories of the different things you can do to actually help yourself, and weird situations and how to prevent those." She was also surprised to learn about stun guns, "The tazers – the ones you actually touch to people – that would just aggravate them instead of actually helping you more."
Attendees also practiced simple self-defense moves and discussed the best ways to avoid dangerous situations. They ranged from 14-years-old to women in their 70s.