PICTURED ABOVE: Self defense instructor Meg Hinkley (pictured right) demonstrates how to kick the shin of the attacker (AJ Tucker, pictured left) in order to escape the double hand hold.
Stance firm and arm outstretched, sophomore Elly O’Brien stared at her attacker straight on and raised her voice to a yell. Even though she knew she was participating in a fabricated scenario to demonstrate her newly learned self defense skills in front of her classmates, she confronted her attacker with force.
In this year’s annual “Fight Like a Girl” assembly, Self Defense Instructor Meg Hinkley educated the sophomore class about the many ways a young woman may be a risk for sexual assault. Hinkley also covers the issues of alcohol-facilitated sexual assault and the lack awareness many people have to their surroundings.
“We covered effective strategies for reducing the risk of becoming a victim and how to evade or fight off an assailant if attacked,” Hinkley said. “The main focus of these assemblies is to raise students awareness of personal safety risk and provide them with basic strategies.”
O’Brien learned a lot about dangers of drinking and sexual assault and how to react in uncomfortable or dangerous situations.
“We learned what to do when we are approached and don’t feel safe,” O’Brien said. “We learned to be okay with screaming and direct eye contact.”
Similar to what she covers in the senior and faculty self-defense classes, Hinkley taught the sophomore class the most effective strategies to ward off an attacker. Her strategies align with the statistics; only 1 to 4 percent of people that comply and beg their attacker to release them will successfully escape in comparison to the 85 percent of people that will get away if they yell and resist.
Form II Dean Alejandra Suárez hopes to expand this program as she sees the importance of teaching students this information and has received a lot of positive feedback after the last assembly.
“Meg was super direct and focused on giving the girls tools to make decisions,” Suárez said. “I got great feedback from the students and the other adults there.”
At the end of the assembly, Hinkley put Suárez on the spot, asking her to use the skills she learned in her faculty self defense class in a demonstration for the class. Responding quickly, Suárez aimed for the primary target: her attacker’s eyes.
“I take all the drills that we do very seriously because I think it is very important,” Suárez said. “The more we know, the more we practice, and the better we will respond.”
Story by Amelia Brown, Sports Editor