Opinion: Response to “Self-defense class targets one side of the sexual assault issue”

by Caitlin Dicus, Special to The Simpsonian

On Saturday, Sept. 13, the Simpson College Shooting Sports Club sponsored a women’s self-defense class on campus. While the club was initially very excited to have The Simpsonian present, we were dismayed to see that they were unable to be present for much of the class and that we were not given the chance to discuss the purpose of the class or our opinions on it. The club would love to have some input into the discussion on the lecture we hosted.

This class was only the first step in a two-part effort by the organization to provide practical information to the women of Simpson College. Sgt. Keith Romp, a 22-year veteran with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office who is a certified defensive tactics instructor and expert in martial arts, led a course, which gave general knowledge to avoid an array of dangerous situations. The second installation will occur later this semester with a two-hour session on the more physical aspects of self-defense, also led by Sgt. Romp.

While the lecture format may seem “like a record on repeat,” the Shooting Sports Club chose to start there as a way to gauge interest in the topic and to provide initial knowledge before moving on to the more complex physical defense tactics. Women are already all too familiar with the slut-shaming, “she shouldn’t have had so much,” and wear-more-clothing discussions. Sgt. Romp, however, focused instead on being aware of your surroundings and having honest inner-dialogue about what you are willing to do in order to save your life. Discussion topics ranged from how the body reacts in high-stress situations to mindsets and everyday items that could aid in defense. The lecture taught not only self-defense, but general lifestyle changes that would be healthy for the safety of any person regardless of gender.

In the culture we know, it is certainly a travesty, as noted in the previous article, that most discussion seems to teach individuals how to defend themselves rather than why they should not attack others. However, these ideals and moral standards are formed at a very young age and until we begin to lead children of all genders in progressive and non-violent thinking, there are always going to be the bad people out there – the kind individuals will need to learn how to protect themselves from. The Shooting Sports Club here at Simpson is unable to affect the moral compasses of those in our community and of the children being raised in it. We can, however, make a concerted effort to provide information on practical skills to those students, faculty and staff on campus who are willing to learn.

For those seeking information on the physical self-defense workshop, please be watching the events calendar and email Dr. Brustkern at [email protected] In the meantime, please be conscious of the mindsets of those around you and work to be a positive, empowering influence for others.