These inexplicable heartbreaks include husbands raising fists of harm against their wives, any man physically injuring any woman by intent, and most notoriously a male forcing himself upon an unwilling female. According to the Center for Disease Control in its National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, some 1.3 million women in the U.S. were raped in the year preceding the CDC investigation.
In an even more alarming account, the survey revealed nearly 1 in 5 women in our country have been raped in their lifetime, and 1 in 4 has been the victim of physical violence by an intimate partner.
Such numbers not only shock us to our very soul, they are unacceptable. Yet, in today’s no-holds-barred world of taking what we want, doing as we please and living outside the unwritten rules of humanity, what is the answer?
For women, it is this. Prepare yourself. Defend yourself. Protect yourself.
The Women’s Council for the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce is again stepping up to the plate with a relevant topic in its Feb. 25 session. Titled “Personal Safety for Women,” the gathering (noon to 1:15 p.m.) will be led by just the right ladies who best understand self-defense in the face of attackers.
One is Evie West who directs public and media relations, recruiting and training for the Cleveland Police Department. The other is Jennifer McKee, a field training officer with the CPD.
Both know their stuff.
West grew up in Los Angeles until the age of 19 when she came to Cleveland to attend Lee University. After graduating Lee in 2001, she joined the local police force as a patrol officer before moving on to the Support Services Division as a school resource officer. She has worked as an SRO in every elementary school in the city district and at Cleveland High School. In February 2008, she transferred to her current position.
McKee is assigned as a community officer in Cleveland’s targeted crime zones, specializing in domestic violence, drugs and alcohol-related crimes. She has worked for the CPD for almost six years after graduating from Middle Tennessee State University.
One of McKee’s focuses within the police ranks is serving as the Rape Aggression Defense instructor. RAD promotes awareness, prevention, reduction and avoidance techniques that every — and any — woman can employ in her day-to-day lifestyle. Whether a woman is jogging or walking in an isolated area, on her way to the office, working alone after hours or minding her own business on a shopping spree, she is vulnerable. But with the right training — or at the very least a better awareness of her surroundings — she can develop a greatly enhanced mindset on personal safety.
McKee has taught RAD to area women for four years. In that time, she has graduated more than 100. Last year she even added a radKIDS program that teaches safety and abduction defense to children ages 3 1/2 to 12 years old.
Truly, it is a session worth attending. To register, call 423-472-6587 no later than noon on Friday. Chamber members also may register online at the community calendar at www.clevelandchamber.com.
Cost of the “Personal Safety for Women” session is $15 for Chamber members and $25 for nonmembers. A buffet lunch is included.
Serving as mothers, wives, income earners, church and nonprofit volunteers, and community leaders, many women have little time to give personal safety its deserved priority.
Perhaps now is the time to give self-defense its rightful due.