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SMC offers education program

Megan Loney | Tuesday, October 26, 2010

For the first time this semester, the Belles Against Violence Office (BAVO) and the Saint Mary’s Security Department are collaborating to offer a special safety education program for students.

The program, created by the National Self-Defense Institute, is not a self-defense class, but rather an educational session focusing on risk-reduction. In a two-hour session, called Self-Defense Awareness and Familiarization Exchange (S.A.F.E.), students learn general self-defense information and five basic techniques for risk-reduction.

“S.A.F.E. teaches some excellent techniques and the time-commitment is easier to fit into a hectic schedule — making it a great introduction for college students,” Connie Adams, director of BAVO, said. “Participants have found the session both fun and valuable.”

The program, offered as a direct result of student interest, is one of the most commonly requested BAVO program by students, Adams said.

Staff from both BAVO and the Security Department work together as instructors for each session, Adams said. Members of both groups completed training through the National Self-Defense Institute.

Adams said the sessions offered through this program would be beneficial and practical for Saint Mary’s students.

“I believe that all women can receive a benefit from participating in basic self-defense classes. Physical self-defense techniques are one small portion of risk reduction, many women feel empowered when they develop this skill set,” she said.

Though the sessions are not self-defense classes, Adams notes that the information they offer is a step toward self-protection.

“It is not possible to entirely eliminate one’s risk of experiencing violence,” Adams said. “However, every step we take to promote personal safety and reinforce the fact that violence is not a community value aids in our movement to eliminate violence and abuse.”

The program’s free sessions are offered about once a month throughout the academic year. The first session was held Sept. 16.

The subsequent sessions for this semester will be held Tuesday and Dec. 1 at 6:45 p.m. in conference rooms D, E and F in the Student Center. Sessions are also scheduled for next semester, and advance registration is required.