Self-defense is a valuable skill

If WSU offered introductory self-defense classes to freshmen, safety would improve in the community, one columnist argues



Students participate in a self-defense class at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. WSU does not currently offer self-defense classes at the UREC.

RIDGE PETERSON, Evergreen columnist

Basic self-defense is a skill that many people, including WSU students, could benefit from learning. Although Pullman is generally a safe city, and odds are any given person will never need to defend themselves physically, it is important to prepare for the worst.

Earlier this month, Kaycee Faber, a 20-year-old chemical engineering major, was walking back to her apartment when she noticed a man following her. Faber, a frequent user of student fitness facilities, was forced to physically fight her attacker off when he followed her into her apartment. She immediately called police, who took the suspect into custody.

Faber credited her workout routine and general fitness with giving her the ability to fight off the intruder.

“I do think lifting helped me a lot,” Faber said. “Not only did the confidence of getting stronger make me feel more capable in the moment, but the actual physical strength I had made it possible for me to get [the attacker] off of me as quickly as possible.”

Of course, situations like Faber’s are very rare in Pullman. Regardless, as effective and responsive as Pullman and campus police are, a student may still find themselves in need of self-defense skills.

In addition to keeping students safer should they be put in a threatening situation, teaching some introductory defense classes on campus would help raise awareness and possibly prevent assaults on students because more students would be educated on what to do in a dangerous situation. Those who see a student being followed or assaulted could take a stand instead of just being a bystander.

Would-be-attackers will be less likely to threaten students if they know that many of us have the skills and knowledge to protect ourselves or others.

On top of educating students about self-defense, WSU could also help inform students about what to do when they see a peer being followed or chased, and how to spot warning signs that a person means to do harm.

Currently, University Recreation does not offer self-defense classes for students, said Leah Sanders, UREC group fitness coordinator.

UREC has offered self-defense classes in the past, but this could be an opportunity for WSU to help make students more aware of opportunities to learn these skills if offered again. Faber said she would support a self-defense course on campus.

“I definitely think it should be an option,” Faber said, “and in my opinion, I think it should be especially stressed to undergrad students and new freshmen.”

WSU does a great job of providing a variety of resources and services to help students. We can all work together to keep helping students feel secure. Raising awareness and participation in self-defense skills would make our campus safer.