Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
One out of every five college women are sexually assaulted.
Eighty percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 30.
Those all seem like pretty grim statistics. The interesting part is that 87 percent of those who fight back against an attack survive the encounter. This is where “Dangerously Cute,” a women’s self defense workshop, comes in.
“My father created the program 10 years ago,” Jen Hardy, Women’s Athletic Director and Lady Viper Head Coach at Vandegrift High School, said. “He owns a self defense company in San Antonio [STW Krav Maga] and he started doing it a decade ago because a number of survivors he worked with said they had no idea what to do when they were assaulted.”
Dangerously Cute is described as an interactive women’s seminar that teaches women to defend themselves and discover their strengths.
“My father saw a need for a very focused group focused on sexual assault, parking lot incidents and kidnapping,” Hardy said.
The workshop focuses on empowering women with life-saving skills to fend off an attacker using powerful moves and tactics that will allow her to get away from her assailant quickly in an effort to run and get help. The five-hour, hands-on workshop teaches women, 12 and up, lifesaving skills on how to defend themselves against sexual assault, attempted rape and parking lot attacks.
“We start with a 30-minute discussion, what to expect, what to know about the real world, what attackers look for in victims, facts about human trafficking and rape,” Hardy said.
Afterwards, the women learn to kick, punch, elbow and knee.
“Most attackers don’t want to put up with the fight,” Hardy said.
After, they learn the skills, the participants put them to the test on “would-be attackers” in simulated, yet real-life scenarios against attackers dressed in heavily-padded attack suits.
“The guys come in suits and attack girls and women,” Hardy said. “The men don’t let them escape until the point where a typical attacker would really feel the need to release.”
Hardy said attackers target those with their eyes on the ground, eye down, eyes on their phones and those who are slouching.
“Get present,” she said. “That is going to alleviate so many possibilities every day. Accept the possibility that something could be wrong. So many people live in a bubble of ‘nothing can happen to me.’”
She has taken the program to Leander ISD schools such as Glenn High School, Rouse High School, Vista Ridge High School, Four Points Middle School and Canyon Ridge Middle School.
“A lot of teenagers come with their moms,” she said. “I’ve heard girls’ parents saying things like ‘Attackers don’t want me, I’m in my thirties, forties, fifties.’ This just really shows how we start to devalue ourselves overtime as women.”
Hardy has been bringing this program to students since 2009.
“Some have come back to me to say they feel more aware and safe being on college on their own when situations arise,” she said.
According to Hardy, the top two things survivors say is “I didn’t think it would happen to me” or “I didn’t know what to do.”
“We live in a more violent society today,” Hardy said. “It’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ for a lot of groups.”
On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Vandegrift High School is hosting a Dangerously Cute clinic. Interested parties can register at krav-maga-san-antonio.com/dangerously-cute-comes-to-austin-4/