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Confidence key to self-defense

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Anthropology senior Jill May practices her striking form as part of a self-defense class taught by Tina Tarin from the OASIS Program. The class teaches people how to defend themselves.
By Ariel Serafin
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
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Women who attended a free self-defense class last night learned that actions as simple as keeping their heads held high and listening to their gut instincts could save them from being the victim of a violent attack.

Tina Tarin, violence prevention specialist at the OASIS Program for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence and instructor of the self-defense courses, said she thinks the most important aspect of the classes is making women more confident and aware of attacks.

"I think the most critical element of the self-defense classes is getting women to understand that there are so many things they can do to resist," Tarin said.

The courses cover "pretty much just the basics," such as being aware of surroundings, and how to get out of some types of holds or grabs attackers might try to use to overpower women, said Women's Resource Center Director Leslie Marasco.

Marasco said she recommended the courses to all women as a cautionary tool.

"You never can expect someone to attack you," Marasco said. "You're definitely better safe than sorry."

Women who attended the course last night cited a variety of reasons for attending, including past histories of sexual assault, family violence or the desire to feel safer around campus.

"I think it's important for everyone to know some self-defense moves, especially college students," said education junior Lauren Ensign. "I've been wanting to do this for a while and I thought it was a great opportunity, so what better time than now?"

Interdisciplinary studies junior Miriam Saleh, who used to be employed by OASIS, said although she had been involved in more than one aspect of self-defense, the classes still helped her feel safer and more confident.

"I've done this before, and I've been boxing for four or five years," Saleh said.

The classes are made available through OASIS, which offers its services to the Women's Resource Center for free in an effort to provide classes for women who might not be able to afford them otherwise, and to encourage safety in the UA community, Marasco said.

"They're an awesome organization to work with," Marasco said.

Although more extensive classes are available to women through OASIS for a fee, Marasco said, women often tell her they appreciate the availability of a free self-defense program.

"They're just very grateful that there's something like this on campus they can turn to," Marasco said.

Tucson Police Department Public Information Officer Dallas Wilson said he could not comment on how effective self-defense courses are because he has never been to one and is not a woman.

The particular classes being offered right now are exclusively for females, but Tarin plans to get certification over the summer to teach men a similar course, she said.

The two-hour-long classes have been offered for years and continue to be popular, Marasco said.

Marasco said the classes are typically offered about five times per semester, although more dates may be added if classes reach their capacity of about 20 people.

Remaining classes are being offered Monday, Nov. 1 and Nov. 9, and additional classes will be offered next semester, Marasco said.

Women who are interested in attending free self-defense classes must make reservations with the Women's Resource Center at 621-3919.

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