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Free women's self-defense classes being put together by police

(Courtesy VPD)
Summary

We teach them that it's okay to defend yourself: Instructor at self defense class

Last year more than 400 sexual offences were reported in Vancouver

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A couple of local policing agencies are teaming up to help women learn how to protect themselves.

The goal is to get women to take responsibility for their own personal safety. They’re taught how to be aware of their surroundings, shown simple moves they can use if confronted by a stranger either on the street or on transit.

Vancouver Police Constable Sandra Glendinning is an instructor and says women often don’t say anything.

“It is a type of self-defence class. We teach them that it’s okay to defend yourself. If somebody has attacked you, they have brought the fight to you, and you have every right to protect yourself.”

“A lot of times for women, we learn a little bit differently than men. We’re not as prone to use violence to protect ourselves. We’re the caregivers, we nurture, that’s in our make-up, so we explain to women that it’s okay to protect yourself. You haven’t asked for this. You don’t deserve to be treated that way and somebody can’t come in there and hurt you. We are giving women the permission to protect themselves.”

The skills that are being taught are for anyone confronted by a stranger either on the street or on the bus or SkyTrain.

Sergeant Wendy Hawthorne with Transit Police says they get various reports of the types of sexual offences that take place on transit and they’re disturbing.

“It takes a lot of courage for the victim of a sex offence to come forward. We see a lot of gropings, a lot of indecent exposure and indecent acts. Voyeurism, people taking pictures up women’s skirts on the escalators, sexual assaults and inappropriate touching from the seat behind or sitting next to you.”

Last year more than 400 sexual offences were reported in Vancouver.

The free workshops are being offered year-round at community centres, high schools and colleges.