According to the Washington Post, it is estimated one in 5 women on college campuses has been sexually assaulted during their time there. With this in mind, and in an effort to give back to the community, Instructor Tra Alidor with Team Remedy Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts will hold a free women’s self defense course a week from today at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. While Alidor will focus on specific moves to get out of being grabbed or choked, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Rich Aloy and Fred Sulzbach, director of the Batterers Intervention Program with Favor House offer different perspectives on women’s defense.

Dawn Willis describes her daughter as a 14 year old, 100-pound, beautiful cheerleader, and one of four children. She said she wants her daughter in Alidor’s self defense class because of the neighborhood in which they live and the “crazy people in the world…She needs to learn protection. I’m not always going to be there.” She said she’s considering taking the class herself and without going into detail said she has encountered a situation in the past where she feels she would have been helped knowing self defense techniques.

Alidor said his wife, his mother, and aunt are going to be participating. “I not only wanted to share with them things to protect themselves but let the community in on it, and hopefully share something that would help in future. I’ll basically go over simple techniques that can keep distance from an attacker and get out of a bad situation (for example) if someone grabs your hand, throat to try to choke, or if someone grabs your hair to pull you…I think everyone that attends will take something away that will stay with them.”

Aloy said, “We certainly advise for folks to take self defense, but the biggest piece is total situational awareness: who you’re going (to see), who you’re with, being observant of immediate surroundings. Have a plan and let other people know where you’re going.” Aloy said attackers “who prey after a target look for behavior. If you seem observant and looking around, being aware, they’re not going to come after you.”

FavorHouse is the certified domestic violence center for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties of District I. While Sulzbach approved of fighting back in a stranger attack situation, he cautioned against this sort of physical defense in a domestic situation.

“Do we think it's smart to take self defense course to stop intimate partner violence? It usually makes things worse for women. Usually, if a woman picks up a weapon of some sort is when that woman ends up in the hospital,” Sulzbach said.

With an “intimate partner,” Sulzbach recommended any kind of physical force as a last resort. “The best defense is to not be there. Walk away. Try to talk things down.” He added, a partner who knows what kind of training the other has may find a way around the instruction.

Another aspect Sulzbach described is how the story will appear to authorities. “Women who defend themselves may get arrested. If you disabled him, it looks like you were the dominant aggressor.” Sulzbach said after working with abusers for 18 years, he’s seen women arrested after getting fed up and fighting back. “You need to stop and think, ‘Am I helping the situation?’ Men use the excuse, ‘She hit me like a man so I hit her back.’”

For more information on Alidor’s class, call him at 572-1226. The seminar will be at the Team Remedy studio located at 6055 Doctor’s Park Road in Milton across from Santa RosaMedicalCenter. No prior experience is necessary and comfortable gym attire is recommended.