Women tackle self-defense
Following drills to teach avoidance techniques, Robison demonstrates on Tech. Sgt. Robin McWhirter of Air Force Legal Operations Agency that even when blindfolded, a person's body is aware of danger and will instinctively avoid it. Robison presented a self-defense class at the Gunter Community Center March 1, hosted by Maxwell-Gunter's Women's History Month committee. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Women tackle self-defense


3/9/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Debbie Robison, a certified instructor, conducted a basic self-defense class at 11 a.m. March 1 at the Gunter Community Center.

The class was well-received by participants.

Tech. Sgt. Robin McWhirter said she appreciated what she learned in the class. "Since I travel often, the most useful information I learned was how to ward off attackers and protect myself in a mugging situation," she said.

"The instructor made everyone feel very comfortable," said Staff Sgt. Shantell Word-Duncan of the 42nd Operations Support Flight. "She showed us quite a few different situations and how to escape them without being harmed."

She learned fighting back isn't difficult. "The class gave me a confidence boost," said Word-Duncan. "It taught me how simply being aware of my surroundings and following my intuition can actually be my biggest tools in defending myself. I'm not saying I'd like to be attacked, but I do feel more prepared if I am ever attacked."

Taking a proactive stance may help a person avoid being a victim. According to a Department of Justice report, physical assault is widespread among adults in the U.S. Each year, about 1.9 million women and 3.2 million men are assaulted in the U.S. About 1 million women and 371,000 men are stalked annually in the U.S. Thirty-nine percent of female physical assault victims, compared with 24.8 percent of male physical assault victims, reported being injured during their most recent physical assault.

The self-defense class was held as part of the base's celebration of Women's History Month. This year's theme is "women's education - women's empowerment."

Women's History Month events at Maxwell-Gunter include:

Walk or run -- All members of the Maxwell-Gunter community are invited to a 5-kilometer walk/run at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Maxwell Fitness Center.

Luncheon and guest speaker -- The Federal Women's Program will host a lunch at 11:30 a.m. March 23 at the Maxwell Club. The guest speaker is Jackie Buck, CEO of the American Red Cross of Central Alabama. The lunch costs $15, and the menu is a turkey croissant or chef salad. Reserve a seat by Wednesday by calling 416-3918.

Pull a plane -- All women are invited to participate at 11 a.m. March 28 at Maxwell's north ramp, across from the fitness center. Wear appropriate shoes and clothing, and bring gloves, if possible.