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    Rebecca Haberman is teaching a self-defense course as part of Women Empowerment Boot Camp being offered by The Well Hand of Grace at Asbury United Methodist Church.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 3:57 pm

From self-defense to cooking classes and mental health awareness, The Well Hand of Grace at Asbury United Methodist Church is offering Women Empowerment Boot Camp.

The next self-defense class is Thursday and the next is Aug. 29. All classes are from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Asbury United Methodist Church, 4001 E. University Blvd. Call 272-1657. The classes are free and free child care is provided for children under 12. 

Debbie Brannon had come to Well Hand of Grace because she is facing financial challenges. Co-Director Theresa Servin helped her, but also told Brannon about the boot camp. She attended the first self-defense session.

Rebecca Haberman is teaching the self-defense course, which covers everything from someone approaching you on the dance floor to a rape or kidnap scenario.

“Part one is if somebody engages you from the opposite sex in a social setting, like if you’re in a bar dancing with your girlfriends and some guy just invades your personal space you don’t necessarily want to break their arm, but you do want to convey that you’re not interested and that they need to back off,” Haberman said.

“Part 2 is if you find yourself in a domestic violence situation and it teaches you how to escape from chokeholds and pony tail grabs. Part 3 is if you are trying to escape a rape or kidnap situation, we teach you how to get out of being pinned down and also at the end I teach the women how to escape being tied by duct tape in under a minute with no tools …,” she added.

In a recent class with 33 women of all ages, they successfully got out of the duct tape in under a minute, Haberman said.

“The trick that I use with the duct tape actually works with zip ties as well so a lot of people don’t believe it and then when you do it you still are in disbelief that it actually happened,” she said.  

Brannon, who is 62, said she was able to get out of the duct tape quickly. She added that this was probably her first exposure to a class like it.

“I was actually very surprised at how easy that was to do. I would have had the assumption had that happened to me that I wouldn’t have been able to get out,” Brannon said. 

She noted that the moves have to be practiced so they become muscle memory. When you are in a stressful situation, it’s hard to think, Brannon said.

Servin said the Well Hand is trying to empower women, especially those that are victims of domestic violence, to get out of that situation safely and empower them not to return to their abusers.

Servin added that the organization has access to many agencies in the community to help women.

Haberman said easy access to drugs and alcohol and people not receiving mental health treatment is leading to more women finding themselves in domestic violence situations.

“So this will kind of level the playing field. If he’s going to hit her, at least she knows how to get out of it and leave, not so much to engage in a whole fight with them but enough to get his hands off of her so that she can escape,” Haberman said.

The moves are a combination of regular self-defense and martial arts that are meant to work with a woman’s body structure, Haberman said.

“There are some moves that are so simple and effective that the women don’t realize that they’ve done it until after it’s already done,” she said.

“It’s less than a second. With the whole duct tape situation, I saw these women come in with the doubt in their eyes. They get a move right and their eyes light up like something clicks on inside them like yes I can do this. Yes this works,” Haberman said.

On a separate issue, Haberman said when someone cases your house to rob it, they survey your residence for a couple of nights.

“They look for your light pattern — the way that you turn off the lights in your house. The first place is usually your kids’ room where you’re putting them down,” Haberman said. “Then as you’re turning off (the lights), what’s the last light that you turn off? Your bedroom. Depending on what their intentions are, they know which side of the house to go in at. If they’re going in there to rob you, they know that that first light is furthest away from you so they break in that (way), which is scary if it’s your children’s room. They know you’re not in that room.”

“That’s why I go over safety tips as well toward the end things that you have to be actively aware of. Guys that are following your back tire when you’re going into a garage … you’re not paying attention to this guy that’s sneaking in by this back wheel. And again, depending on his intentions, he’ll just hide somewhere in your garage behind some stuff. If he’s going in there, he knows you’re alone he’s going in there to rape you he could just walk right in. If he’s going in to rob you, he just waits for you to go back in your car and you leave and he goes right back into the house because he knows he’s alone,” she said.

Servin said Well Hand is trying to bring awareness to women, and especially teenagers who are always on the phone or their headsets and not looking at who’s around them.

“The great thing about The Well and what Theresa’s doing with these women is they’re breaking a cycle of the women in their current situation so the next situation is going to be better. She’s pulling all these resources together and the community is starting to take notice and that’s why she’s getting such a strong backing with all these agencies and organizations that want to be part of this because it’s a really great thing,” Haberman said.

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