Speaker teaches students to fight back



By Taylor Spaw

Monday night Student Activities Board helped students learn how to fight back.

The engaging issues committee of the Student Activities Board brought in writer, speaker and self defense expert, Erin Weed to demonstrate how to protect yourself, whether on campus, in the dorms or on the street.

When Weed’s friend and fellow student Shannon McNamara was tragically murdered on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in 2001, Weed was inspired to teach students to defend for themselves and, as she said, “become their own best protectors”. Today, Erin Weed and a trained group of speakers travel the country giving presentations to over 100,000 college students every year. Erin has spent the last nine years studying several aspects of violence prevention and now hosts her own company Fight Back Productions.

Monday night’s presentation started off with some statistics.  According to Weed, 90 percent of all campus attacks are made by students on fellow students, and seven out of ten sexual assaults are by someone the victim knows.

Weed  went on to tell the audience the three key steps to living a safe life, then demonstrated some self-defense moves including sending a wrist bone to the nose and an elbow  to the spine. Students attending stood up and practiced the moves themselves, the entire grand ballroom was filled with yells of “Stop! Leave me alone! I don’t want any problems.”

Weed mixes comedy, skills and motivation to educate students about how to be safe. She said she wants everyone to be able to say “I am so dangerous” and feel safe walking down the street or being home alone.

“I was shocked to learn how many crimes are by people students know,” Weed said.  “That’s when it’s the hardest to protect yourself, because there is a high level of emotion involved in knowing your attacker”.

Weed said her best advice to college students is  “to trust yourself.” She said the biggest mistake students make is  that “they do not trust their intuition and talk themselves out of believing there is danger.” If you would like to learn how to defend yourself Erin suggests checking out www.kravmaga.com for males and Erin’s own www.girlsfightback.com for women.

Jill Baranowski, director of engaging issues at  the Student Activities Board said campus safety inspired the Board to host Weed’s program. “We have a pretty safe campus, but there is always room for improvement,” Baranowski said. “That is why we brought Erin.” UK has several safety programs including SafeCats, an escort service for students walking at night, the UK police and the UKAlert.  Weed emphasised the importance of personal protection on Monday night. “

Be your best protector,” Weed said.  “Do not rely on bystanders to help you.”