5-52 ADA Sisters in Arms learn self defense techniques

Officer Allen Edington, of the El Paso Police Department, coaches female Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, basic self defense techniques during a class designed to teach Soldiers how to escape from an attacker. The training was a part of Sisters in Arms program. Photos by Capt. Jason Koontz, 11th ADA PAO.

Officer Allen Edington, of the El Paso Police Department, coaches female Soldiers of 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, basic self defense techniques during a class designed to teach Soldiers how to escape from an attacker. The training was a part of Sisters in Arms program. Photos by Capt. Jason Koontz, 11th ADA PAO.

By Amy Braley, 11th ADA SHARP:

The 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, “Fighting Duce” Sister’s in Arms hosted a sexual assault self-defense training course at Mitchell W. Stout Physical Fitness Center Sept. 17.

Chaplain Jasmine Johnson, 5th Bn., 52 ADA’s chaplain, organized the event in coordination with the El Paso Police Department.

Officers Allen Edington and Joe Lopez, of the El Paso Police Department, provided the training for the event.  The officers stressed the importance of paying attention to one’s surroundings and recognizing and avoiding bad situations. They said proper training can help one’s chances to survive a sexual assault or attack. The officers said, when confronted, victims should use a combination of physical and verbal resistance to deter the creeps. Learning self-defense skills provides a would-be victim with both the confidence and ability to stand up, say “no,” and thwart the completion of an attempted rape.

The Soldiers in the class learned numerous and varied techniques to escape from an attacker’s hold. The session was not just academic. The participants were paired up and practiced the newly learned techniques in realistic sexual assault scenarios.

“At the beginning, I was skeptical about these moves really working, but I was even able to get away from the instructor during a scenario”, said Spc. Cynthia Beltran, an information technology specialist assigned to 5th Bn., 52 ADA.

Amy Braley, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention victim advocate, and Chaplain Jasmine Johnson, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th ADA, look on as Capt. Candace Hill, commander of Battery F, 5-52 ADA, recovers from a training move performed by Braley during the Sisters in Arms self defense class at Mitchell W. Stout Physical Fitness Center, Sept. 17.

Amy Braley, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention victim advocate, and Chaplain Jasmine Johnson, 5th Battalion, 52nd Air Defense Artillery, 11th ADA, look on as Capt. Candace Hill, commander of Battery F, 5-52 ADA, recovers from a training move performed by Braley during the Sisters in Arms self defense class at Mitchell W. Stout Physical Fitness Center, Sept. 17.

Amy Braley, 11th ADA Bde. Sexual Harassment Assault Response Prevention victim advocate, participated in the class and spoke to the group about sexual assault prevention and reporting.  She emphasized how vital it is to report every incident of sexual harassment and assault.

At the end of the class, the Soldiers felt empowered to recognize the warning flags of a dangerous situation. They learned to protect themselves from an attack, and to safely report any incident. The class afforded Braley and the officer’s an opportunity to have a candid discussion about risk factors that increase a would-be victim’s vulnerability.

The Soldiers discussed how alcohol consumption increases vulnerability by decreasing self-awareness, situational awareness, and by reducing the ability to fight off an attacker. The Soldiers agreed safety planning and using the “battle buddy” system will increase their safety. They know and agreed to always step in and protect a fellow Soldier regardless of their gender.

The class will be offered again Oct. 8.

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Reporting hotline is 1-800-656-HOPE and available 24/7, 365 days a year. Once reported, every victim is afforded strict and absolute confidentiality, protection from reprisal, and a dedicated advocate for their circumstances and support.

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