Fighting Back

By Michael Sevren
Fremont County Reporter

It's six o'clock on a Thursday night. A group of 10 woman have gathered in the basement of the student center at Central Wyoming College. The only thing they have in common is that they have all been a victim or know someone who has. 

"I was robbed in high school." Says Tara Thomas. "They took my purse and that experience has stuck with me for years."

"A friend of mines mother was was mugged outside of Walmart, My daughter was beaten was up." Says Lori Davidson.

Captain Eric Murphy echos the woman's statements. " We had an armed robbery at the Walmart a couple of weeks ago. We've had a couple of assaults on the bike-path recently."

It is because of these violent crimes that the Riverton Police Force started doing free week long woman's self defense classes. within a week of making the announcement of the program. Captain Murphy had over 80 calls from woman wanting to join.

"We decided to do one class a month until we get through everybody," says Murphy "and as long as people keep calling we will keep having the class."

The 20 hour class is comprised of both class room lectures and hands on training to help them learn everything they need to know to fight off an attacker that is threatening their life.

"There is no way we can teach them to not get assaulted and not get into some of these situations." Says Murphy. "What we are really trying to teach them is if that does happen, we don't want them to be a victim but a survivor.

"Be aware of my surroundings, be aware of what I would do if I was attacked." Says Tara when asked what she has learned over the week. "And how to defend myself, how to do some simple strategies that can help me save my life."

"They give us techniques to use." Says Lori. "to get up under the chin, use the heel of hand on their face, just techniques to help us get away."

But these woman are not just learning how to fight back, but are finding the courage they need to stand up against violence.

"Some people like myself have been victims in this class," says Tara "and to hear their stories it's inspirational that they have the courage to come and take this class and not be victim but a survivor."