Brian Ahern, Contributing Writer
In the school’s latest effort in its campaign for sexual assault awareness, Chamberlain Studios of Self Defense came to campus on Saturday to teach students methods for both avoiding potentially dangerous situations and defending against attackers.
The event attracted about 150 students and was led by 12 instructors of varying degrees of martial- arts training. The first half of the class focused on defending against oncoming attackers, while the second half was concerned with getting out of a situation where the attacker has already gotten the victim to the ground. Nick Chamberlain, the lead instructor, demonstrated various techniques and positions of defense. He then allowed the students to practice themselves, which led to plenty of laughter and good-spirited wrestling.
Along the way, Chamberlain pointed out many of the sobering truths about sexual assault.
“With violent crime, 50 percent of the time, you know who it is. It’s a husband, an ex-husband, a brother-in-law, a father-in-law, a coach, a teacher, a pastor, anyone,” he said. “It’s not a stranger.”
Chamberlain went on to warn the students to be more careful of spending time alone with people they do not know very well. “Study in a group, instead of with one person you just met. Study together in a place that you know,” he said.
The Office of Student Life approached the studio a few weeks ago about coming to the University of Dallas.
While most of the students in the class were women, there were many male students present. Most of the self-defense methods were geared toward women, but Chamberlain said it was important that men be present in the class as well.
“Ideally, a good sexual assault program covers both girls and guys, just like a workplace violence or assault program. You can’t just teach the victims, you have to teach the perpetrators. You have to have open lines of communication; you have to know when enough is enough,” he said.
Students who participated gave a very positive response to the class.
“Every person should know basic techniques for self-defense and escape,” said Brenna Rossi, a freshman. “It’s really nice that this class was free, so that it was very accessible to everybody, because I think everybody should take it. They’re giving us some good practical information; [for example], you need to scratch [an attacker’s] face to gather DNA. I did not know that.”
“I think they should have made it mandatory, because a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is for someone to lure you away or to attack you,” said Mara Valdez, a sophomore.
Chamberlain gave a positive assessment of the UD students who participated.
“They were interested and proactive. They did something for themselves,” he said.