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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Self-defense class offered by MUPD receives low turnout
Victoria Fitzgerald (right) was one of three participants of this month’s self-defense class, which are led by Capt. Ruth Peterson (left). Photo by Alex Groth/[email protected]

Three people attended this week’s Marquette Police Department free self-defense training for learning how to escape dangerous situations.

Ruth Peterson, MUPD captain, led the training and said learning self-defense is important, but a low turnout, which is typical for these trainings, might be a good thing.

“(MUPD) has talked to students, and a lot of them have said, ‘Unfortunately, if nothing is going on and we don’t hear about it, we’re not concerned about our safety,’” Peterson said. “It’s kind of a good problem and a bad problem to have.”

Last month’s only training was canceled because two attendees showed up. Peterson asked this month’s training attendees for tips on how to get more participants.

MUPD teaches self defense using a three-part model – prevent, plan and act. “Prevent” emphasizes appearing confident and traveling with groups in busy, well-lit areas. “Plan” focuses on knowing and being aware of surroundings. “Act” involves falling and blocking strikes, knowing weapon and target areas, getting out of grabs or chokes and running or getting away effectively.

Peterson said personal safety is not largely threatened by what people wear or where they are, but by distraction and unawareness of surroundings.

“The criminal element is looking for an easy target and an easy target is someone who cannot identify them,” Peterson said. “So (someone) can run by, take the phone right out of your hand and that student, faculty, staff member, whomever it is, wouldn’t be able to describe that person.”

Pat Bolter, records coordinator in the College of Education and a training participant, said it is important not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

“I was walking down Broadway (Street) to Wisconsin Avenue and it was still light out after work, say around 5:30 (p.m.), and a street person came up and grabbed my arm and I honestly didn’t know what to do,” Bolter said. “That reminded me that you really just need to be prepared.”

Victoria Fitzgerald, assistant dean for college operations in the College of Education and a training participant, said self-defense is something people need to be more aware of.

“It had been a while since I had taken a personal safety course and coming off of my injuries and getting older, I thought, you know, it’s not a bad idea just to go back and refresh,” Fitzgerald said.

Peterson said most people, especially men, do not value self-defense training until it is too late, although they’re just as susceptible to victimization on campus.

“If we have an armed robbery off-campus you’ll see these (attendee) numbers increase because parents are then telling their sons or daughters, ‘you need to go take a self-defense class,’” Peterson said.

The training ended with Peterson describing how serious the aftermath of experiencing a dangerous situation can be.

“A lot of times people want to forget that (a dangerous situation) happened so they try to forget completely, saying, ‘I’m not thinking about it, I’m not giving this any time,'” Peterson said. “What happens then is that at some point usually, all the sudden, something triggers and you realize you never dealt with that situation.”

MUPD will offer the next self-defense training Thursday, April 14 in Alumni Memorial Union room 163.

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