By the time I came to college, I had already been a victim of sexual harassment and assault. I was not raped or beaten, but was approached by an older man and did not know how to say no or stop. I was not about to let a similar event repeat itself or to get myself into a worse situation. Several of the girls in my hallway and I decided to join a self defense class run by the JMU police department. We would meet every Tuesday for three hours. This was one of the best things I have ever done, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
We learned how to defend our selves from attacks coming from the front and behind. They also taught us how to get a man off of us while we were lying down. We could block punches and successfully perform a knee to groin defensive maneuver, which was all of our favorites. The greatest part about this program was the last day. Two or more police officers dressed up in head to toe padding so we could practice our moves for real. They looked like human sized transformers, and in order to complete the course we had to fend them off in three different situations. 1) attack from head on 2) As we pretended to get money from an ATM we were confronted by two men and had to fend them off 3) we stood with our eyes close while one of the padded officers talked in our ears and then eventually grabbed us from behind and took us to the ground. Every single girl successfully got out of every situation. After the assimilation, we ordered pizza and watched what we had done. One of the trainers video taped the session, so we could see how powerful we were. Girls no bigger than 5'5" were lifting full grown men off the ground with their forceful need to groin hits.
I feel completely confident in my abilities to get out of a sticky situation and I would strongly suggest taking this course or one like it.