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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Sharpening their skills; course aims to arm women with techniques

Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Officer Kristi Hosea empowers female students with self-defense, confidence and    peace of mind
Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Officer Kristi Hosea empowers female students with self-defense, confidence and    peace of mind

Ten to 15 seconds of adrenaline can help someone escape an attacker, and A&M has a class to teach women how to utilize those invaluable moments.
Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention, SHARP, is hosted by the Women’s Resource Center throughout the semester to prepare women, both students and faculty, for potentially dangerous situations.
Each of the four classes during the spring semester host about 18 students, and Sonia Mahabir, assistant coordinator in the Women’s Resource Center, said there is a waiting list of 119.
Mahabir said, for her, the most important aspect of SHARP is its ability to raise confidence.
“I think a lot of people, they don’t recognize the personal inner strength they have and the things that they can do when stressed out,” Mahabir said. “That just makes everyone a lot more aware of what they can do as well as the dangers that they may face.”
The class is taught by officers from the University Police Department. Officer Kristi Hosea, who instructs some of the courses, said the small size of the class gives participants more one-on-one attention and space to move during training.
“We give each student the instructional attention to perform the techniques correctly,” Hosea said. “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Mahabir said she keeps in touch with students who cannot make it into a class so they can apply again the next semester. The WCR has to be aware of UPD officers’ schedules, and with three or four classes a semester, Mahabir said the center is hesitant to add more.
“We don’t always add more classes because we’re not always sure we’ll fill them,” Mahabir said.
Groups that can gather 10 or more participants can also schedule a customized class, Mahabir said.
The classes are split into two nights. The first is mainly lecture to teach participants how the body reacts under stress. Mahabir said both nights help participants form a plan to keep themselves safe and escape a predator.
“On the second night we practice a lot of maneuvers related to escaping, dealing with sexual harassment and defending yourself,” Mahabir said.
Mahabir said the class is only for women, which was a decision made by the larger SHARP organization. Men interested in learning more about personal safety are able to meet with Mahabir by appointment.
“Some of the maneuvers that we teach, we want to keep women safe, and if someone can’t anticipate the moves that are going to move against them for defense,” Mahabir said.
Sarah Genzer, third-year veterinary medicine student, said she wanted to take the course to prepare for life after graduation, when she plans to work as a vet making house calls
“Soon I will be going on farm calls, doing visits at home by myself, and I wanted to feel able to handle anything,” Genzer said.
Genzer said she had not expected the amount of in-depth maneuvers taught over the two days. After having heard a number of cases of women stalked on campus or Northgate, Genzer said she feels more confident dealing with a potentially dangerous situation.
“You’ll be surprised at the end in how much confidence you have in yourself,” Genzer said. “It’s a very supportive environment. It’s all encouragement and trying to help each other, pushing each other to do better.”
Hosea said she encourages women from across campus to attend the training courses.
“It’s a great idea to learn specific techniques to better protect yourself,” Hosea said. “Besides, where else do you get the opportunity to try your newly learned techniques using full force on a police officer?”

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