Not even a week into the semester and ULM has already made efforts to enrich the lives of the women on this campus.
On Jan. 15, the Equalizer Women’s Self-defense Program had a second wind and is eager to prepare even more women on how to stay alert, escape and survive threatening situations.
There will be more sessions for this class during the 2019 spring semester. Sessions are held at 5:30 p.m., on Tuesday nights in Bayou Pointe Event Center and are led by Meghan Olinger, assistant director of Bayou Pointe, and Sonni Bennett, director of student life and leadership.
These two ladies were chosen by the ULM Police Department and were trained in a 40-hour course called Strategic Self-Defense and Gunfighting Tactics. Their sole purpose is to make sure that every woman who walks through their doors feels safe and comfortable.
Ten years ago, when Olinger was a ULM student, she faced her own complications with a stalker. She always had her suspicions of who the creep was, but it was the ULM police who caught the suspect and took care of the situation.
“The ULM Police Department were top notch at the time,” said Olinger, but she went on to explain that, “It takes only five seconds for a situation to go bad, however, through this course, four weeks can earn you a lifetime of confidence.”
“The point of the course isn’t to defeat or overcome the attacker, but to be able to get away and survive,” Olinger said.
From the second class on, each week will get more physically demanding as women will practice defending themselves even when they are scrambled on the ground.
Ariana Brown, a freshman speech and language pathology major and returning self-defense student, calls this “shrimping,” which is a practice known to help a women escape the pressures of anyone who pins her down.
“It is beneficial to refresh the course, because it gives you a sense of protection when walking around campus,” Brown said.
Olinger offered a final piece of advice.
“”Learn it in the class, practice it at your dorm and always be prepared, because within an instant, you’ll need to put the skills to use. For anybody to say they are 100 percent confident in walking down a dark alley would be foolish,” Olinger said.
She encourages all women, students or teachers to come to the class and remember their training because only through practice, do the skills become second nature.
At the end of the course, women who successfully complete the program will get a certificate of completion that thanks them for their participation.