University police offer free self-defense classes for students, residents after woman attacked

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department encourages community members to learn self-defense in their free classes.
Posted at 10:08 AM, Sep 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-12 11:08:51-04

MILWAUKEE — Self-defense is important to know, especially after the brutal attack on a student about a week ago in Madison.

"The Madison incident was unfortunate," University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Officer, Jeanne Parsons says.

Officer Parsons has been with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Police Department for nearly 17 years. She devotes a lot of her time to helping people, help themselves.

"We would, of course, would not want to see anything like that on our campus. So we try to educate our students and the community to start with the basics" Officer Parsons explained.

UW-Milwaukee knows the importance of learning self-defense. The on-campus Women's Resource Center partnered with the police department to hold a class Monday.

Officer Parsons says the police department offers free classes about once a month. The classes are open to students and community members. She thinks the class is a good idea for everyone to take.

"I think it's really important, I think it gives some empowerment as well. So you're not out there just feeling like, 'oh, what if something happens to me, I don't know how to defend myself to have that power to respond if an incident were to happen.'"

Officer Parsons not only teaches the right form for strikes, punches, and kicks. She says there is another important tool to have in the toolbox as well.

"We talk about using good verbalization as well as physical. So that if you're being attacked, you're also screaming, you're yelling, you're looking for help."

The class brought in many students Monday afternoon, including Maryuri Covarrubio. She’s a freshman at UW-Milwaukee.

"I decided to take this class because I could really use the peace of mind and it’s probably a skill I might need. Even though I hope I don't have to use it" Covarrubio said.

Many people who attended the class had never thrown a punch before. The class was about getting familiar with defending themselves.

"They're yelling, they're throwing punches, they're ya know they're really enjoying it and I think to give women the empowerment is really special" Officer Parsons explained.

Officer Parsons stresses that these classes are open to anyone, not just students. "I would encourage them to take it as well. Because you never know when you're going to be a victim of a crime. And I don't think crime discriminates, so it's important to be prepared."

The free classes are held throughout the school year. In addition to taking the classes, Officer Parsons encourages walking with friends, using well-lit walkways, and being aware of your surroundings.