Everyone wants to feel safe in their communities. The reality is crime has no boundaries, and it can hurt anyone, anytime and any place.
Enter Troy Township’s latest installment of the Smart & Savvy Women’s Series, an initiative that aims to empower women.
On Aug. 17, State Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) worked in conjunction with Troy Township and One Light to hold a class for women and girls on self-defense. By hosting the event at the Troy Township Community Center, organizers hoped that everyone overcomes the apathy they may feel when confronted with a need to protect oneself.
Batinick said the course is important in the way it gives constituents an opportunity to hone in on tactics to thwart off danger and boost confidence.
“As a husband and a father of three, you get a different perspective,” he said. “In talking to women and learning how they’ve been at risk, I think it’s important No. 1 to train, No. 2 to feel confident, and No. 3 know how to get out of the situation. That’s the genesis of this.”
The class, which was co-taught by One Light’s Tarne Mixson, Sean Mixson and Courtney Kodat, demonstrates basic self-defense moves to help participants get away if they should ever be attacked.
“I think that we have this misguided notion that we live in safe communities, but the fact is you’re not safe if you’re a victim,” Mixson said. “No one victim who was attacked thought, ‘I probably will be attacked today.’ So, we just want to open people eyes to the fact that they could become a victim, and we give them ways to avoid that, to stay safe, to have a strong appearance.”
The three-hour course featured lecture and talking points, as well as space for interaction. To help participants in grasping the material, they were paired up with others in the course to practice the skills they were taught.
“What makes us different than other self-defense courses is that a lot of them will teach how to stay in and win a fight,” Mixson said. “We understand that three short hours that’s not a realistic thing to teach. We teach release and run [focusing on] what to do when you’re in a situation, so you can get out of the situation.”
The course, Mixson said, brought in an eclectic group of participants, which is nice to see.
Nancy Drauden, of Shorewood, said she is glad she decided to participate.
“[I wanted to] just see what’s going on and protect myself better,” she said.
Drauden said she is concerned for her safety, especially considering the state of the world we live in.
“I don’t think you’re safe any place anymore,” she said. “Just for my own protection, I [typically] go grocery shopping by myself. I think some of these techniques will help me if anything happens. Hopefully, it won’t but you got to be prepared, and that’s why I came.”
Troy Township Administrator Jennifer Dylik said the course does a solid job of connecting the township with residents to show its responsiveness to the community’s needs and interests.
“We are always looking for ways we can expand our services,” she said. “So many people know the Township for the assessor, who assesses the value of the land, and the highway department, that takes care of the roads. So, we try to broaden our programs and services to reach out to more people, so that people can come in and realize the Township does a lot more than assess the property and roads.”