The Right Moves: Local police teaching women self-defense techniques


Would you know what to do if you were attacked? For many women, the answer to that question is “no.”

One out of every six women in this country has been the victim of a rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. Statistics show a rise in sexual violence across the globe. The threat of rape, assault or robbery is real.

“A few years ago, I thought I was being followed,” said Sara Pawley. “I don’t know if I actually was or not, but they were following for several miles. It made me very uncomfortable.”

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Pawley isn’t alone. Many women have found themselves in a similar situation. That’s why Hilliard Police developed a women’s self defense class. It’s an opportunity to help women build the confidence and learn the techniques to fight back.

“I think you will find in most classes like this, we’re gonna teach you dynamic moves, we’re gonna teach you how to survive,” says Sgt. Suzanne Muraco.

She helped bring the class to Hilliard 13 years ago after seeing what other suburban police departments were offering.

The class is free and if open to anyone. You don’t have to be a Hilliard resident.

“We start off teaching prevention, like home safety, vehicle safety,” she told 10TV. “We have conversations about how to keep yourself safe in situations and then we add on self defense techniques in case you did everything correct but something is still happening.”

Sgt. Muraco says this class can empower women to take safety into their own hands rather than rely on someone of something to protect them.

"If you got in a tug of war with Jeb, you're fighting muscle against muscle. By you rotating your hand, you're fighting skeleton against skeleton. So, it doesn't matter how much muscle he has if he can't move his arm anymore, he can't move his arm anymore and that's how we teach smarter not harder,” one instructor said in how to fight back.

Self-defense techniques, like anything else, are a perishable skill. If you take a women's self-defense class and don't practice what you learned for several months, you're going to forget what you've learned.

So, Hilliard police suggest you pay it forward. Take the class and then share what you've learned. Teach your daughter, your friend, a relative — teach anyone how to do it and you'll get practice and remember the techniques.

“I think it’s very empowering to do this so that you have the confidence in yourself to — if you have to and hopefully you don’t have to — get in a situation that you know what to do. You don’t have to think about it, you just do it,” Pawley says.

Hilliard Division of Police’s Women’s Self Defense Class is a free, two-day course on self-defense and state of mind. The class is open to women age 15 and up. It focuses on prevention strategies with self-defense options that can be used as a last resort if you were attacked.

Upcoming Basic class dates in 2020 are July 29 and 30, and Aug. 12 and 13, with the Advanced class Oct. 14 and 15.

More information about Hilliard Police’s Women’s Self Defense Class is available here.