#SAAM: Joint Base Andrews Holds Self Defense Classes
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md (NNS) — Joint Base Andrews held a self defense course for military service members, civilians and family members at the installation’s West Fitness Center to heighten awareness during Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), April 13.
“The purpose of this class is to help stimulate the awareness piece and [teach] everyone to have that confidence that if anybody were to come and try to [restrain] them it gives them a little bit of confidence as to how to handle the situation,” said 1st Lt. Diana Halferty, Joint Base Andrews Sexual Assault Response coordinator. “A lot of these [instructors] are Mixed Martial Arts fighters themselves and we also have Security Forces that are here to teach the course.”
The class included a mixture of several different self defense techniques ranging from Krav Maga, the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, combative defense moves and mixed martial arts.
Jim Thrift, owner of Calvert Mixed Martial Arts Academy and former Navy Reservist, volunteered to run the course and said that human beings have a natural fight or flight instinct and that self defense training can help potential victims to not go into panic mode in a situation such as sexual assault.
“What we have found through training is that you react the way you train,” said Thrift. “So if you are in here doing self-defense moves and you are doing repetition, it becomes a reflex. I think self defense and awareness is a way of life, so that is what we are trying to do here.”
The Department of Defense (DoD) chose “Hurts One…Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone’s Duty” as the theme to drive this year’s campaign. During the month of April, commands around the world will focus on training and events led by sexual assault response coordinators.
According to the DoD Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, 611 sexual assaults were reported in the Navy alone in 2010; with an average rank of victims and offenders being E1-E4 between the ages of 20-24.
“A lot of the times we throw out a lot of statistics but one of the things that we preach is that one is too many. It doesn’t matter who it is, because when it’s your turn we want to make sure that you’re supported,” said Halferty. “Due to Sexual Assault Awareness Month and to all the assaults with victims we want to make sure that everybody knows that one is too many, whoever is assaulted needs to be taken care of.”
During the class, each participant learned defense moves against choke holds as well as arm and body grabs. Following the class, each member also received an awareness kit which included a flashlight and whistle.
“The statistics are really high, so I think we should all be prepared to do the best we can to get out of the situation if it does arise,” said Emily Moore, joint basing coordinator for Joint Base Andrews. “The more you know the more ready you are and hopefully a potential victim won’t freeze up, they will be able to respond and react.”
As the Department of the Navy enters the third week of SAAM, commands will focus on the theme “Prevention is Everyone’s Duty” which encourages Sailors to look out for one another to prevent a sexual assault crime.
“I think it’s great, you hear a lot of stories about sexual assault within the military and unfortunately most people are afraid to report it,” said Thrift. “So if we can prevent it in the first place then we are winning the game.”
Other events that will be held in the region for SAAM include: a 5 mile race at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Naval Support Facility (NSF) Indian Head and NSF Dahlgren; an improv and educational comedy show by the Sex Signals at Fort Meade; and several social events held at installation housing areas.
Sexual Assault Prevention and Response is an important element of the readiness area of the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps. The Department of the Navy is working to aggressively to prevent sexual assaults, to support sexual assault victims, and to hold offenders accountable.
Help raise awareness by joining the conversation on social media using #SAAM.
For more information on Bystander Intervention or safety precautions visit http://www.myduty.mil/index.php/prevention/prevention-overview.
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Article source: http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=66514
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