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Love Your Body Week promotes empowerment

| Friday, February 28, 2014

Love Your Body Week continued at Saint Mary’s College on Thursday with a self-defense class, Spa Night at Hannah’s House and a screening of the documentary “Someday Melissa”.

The self-defense class, co-sponsored by Athletics, BAVO (Belles Against Violence Office), Security and Women’s Health taught participants five basic physical moves that are part of the Self-Awareness and Familiarization Exchange (S.A.F.E.) national program offered by the National Self-Defense Institution. Connie Adams, director of the BAVO office, said self-defense is an important aspect to what individuals can do to reduce personal risk of experiencing violence.

“Perhaps the most important reason [self defense] falls within the category of risk reduction is because it empowers participants,” Adams said. “If participants take one thing away, I hope it is empowerment, confidence.”

During the program, facilitators discussed the importance of trusting one’s instincts. Recognizing one’s own inner strength empowers women to have the ability to trust in themselves, Adams said.

“From what I have witnessed, Love Your Body Week focuses on recognizing your inner strength, being grateful for who you are and respecting yourself as well as others,” said Adams. “In my experience, sometimes women have a difficult time trusting [their] instincts, trusting themselves.

“By encouraging women to connect with these instincts and follow them, we are supporting the overarching mission of LYBW.”

A spa night was held at Hannah’s House, a maternity home in South Bend, which is the community partner of Le Mans Hall. Saint Mary’s women spent the evening with the mothers of Hannah’s House painting nails, doing facials and watching a movie.

“The event [was] intended to promote the idea of dedicating time to caring for your body and connect with the community. We are hoping to make SMC students more aware of this wonderful organization and see how great the moms there are,” Le Mans Hall ministry assistant Kelly Gutrich said.

Thursday night’s events also included a screening of “Someday Melissa,” sponsored by Project HEAL, a national nonprofit organization that promotes healthy body image and raises money for those with eating disorders who cannot afford treatment. “Someday Melissa” is a documentary inspired by the journal writings of a girl battling an eating disorder and her mother’s effort to understand the disease.

“While ‘Someday Melissa’ is a story of loss and does contain some difficult content, ultimately, it comes down to hope,” leader of the Saint Mary’s chapter of Project HEAL and junior Mackenzie Woods said. “It is only through this type of education and awareness that we can work to prevent eating disorders in the first place.”

The film was followed by a question and answer session with Gwen DeHorn, a local eating disorder specialist. Woods said she hoped DeHorn’s knowledge of eating disorders and the film would be sources of education that inform the community about eating disorders.

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