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Preventing Assault: Safer’s Self-Defense Workshop

Although sexual assaults by acquaintances are most prevalent on college campuses, assaults by strangers still happen.

In spring of 2012, four sexual assaults suspected to have been perpetrated by the same man near Cal Poly’s campus were reported. On every occasion, the perpetrator would approach the victim or victims from behind and forcibly attempt to remove their underwear late at night. Unfortunately, this sexual predator was never caught.

In 2014, there have been a string of sexual assaults committed on campus and in the San Luis Obispo area. The first assault occurred on Jan. 7 as the victim was walking from the parking lot next to the Administration Building to the Julian A. McPhee University Union. The suspect pulled a bag or pillowcase over the victim’s head and attempted to sexually assault her before she escaped.

The second reported assault happened a week later as a female Cal Poly student was walking downtown just before midnight when the male suspect attacked from behind, pulling up her shirt and grabbing her breasts. He then proceeded to force her to the ground and remove her pants, but fled the scene once she began screaming.

As much as we would like to feel safe on our college campuses or in our communities, it’s unrealistic to cling too close to a false sense of security. Looking back at the reports of the last three years, the patterns and motives for each wave of assaults is peculiar in that repeat offenses are almost inevitable. In reacting to this, we can proactively arm ourselves with techniques that leave us feeling more empowered in a world where even our worst nightmare can come true.

Cal Poly Safer offers two self-defense classes a quarter that are free for all students. The classes are aimed at providing students with the skills necessary to fight back in harmful situations.

“It’s a very basic self-defense class” says Christina Kaviani, a coordinator for Cal Poly Safer. “It’s a great way to get women thinking about how best to protect themselves.”

The first class is Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Recreation Center.

Lauren Piraro is a journalism major and women and gender studies minor at Cal Poly. She enjoys watching documentaries on Netflix and daydreaming about one day being a travel writer.
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