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'Able to walk away,' Inside a self-defense class during Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 24, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-24 23:23:53-04

ALGOMA (NBC 26) — The Violence Intervention Project in Algoma hosted a free self defense class during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. NBC 26 shows you how it taught people to stand up for themselves.

  • The Violence Intervention Project in Algoma provides transitional housing, crisis counseling and other support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence
  • According to RAINN.org, one person in the United States is sexually assaulted almost every minute
  • If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced domestic or sexual abuse call The Violence Intervention Project's crisis help line at (877) 847 - 3223

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)

A move like this can help prevent you from being attacked. I'm Pari Apostolakos reporting in Algoma taking you inside a free self defense class this Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

"It is never your fault," Amber Shallow of The Violence Intervention Project said. "You should always report it and there are resources available to you to help support you through that journey."

The Violence Intervention Project in Algoma hosted a free self-defense class in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

"By taking a step towards protecting yourself and learning some self-defense tactics, you can maybe try and prevent that from ever happening to you," Shallow said.

Amber Shallow sits on the board of directors. She says the organization helped 47 individuals dealing with sexual assault issues last year.

"It's difficult for people to face, it's sometimes detrimental to their mental health and not everyone believes them," she said. "And, not everyone is willing to stand behind them."

That's where master Tae Kwon Do instructor Mike Champeau came in to teach people how to stand up for themselves.

"When you walk out of here today [the hope is] to have the confidence to feel good about yourself and to be able to defend yourself," Champeau said. "Even in small towns, the violence is out there, the abductions are out there."

He and his team taught about the weakest places on the body, like knees, groin and inner thighs and to always use your voice.

While the roundhouse kicks, punches and maneuvers to get out of head locks may look the most impressive, Champeau says they are not the most important thing to keep in mind.

"It's about having confidence and being able to walk away rather than fight. You should be able to use your hands [and] walk away."