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UNC Student’s Action Keeping Others Safe

December 27, 2009

Dark had long-since fallen over the “Pit” on UNC-CH’s campus, some students strolling to either dorms or the libraries, cramming in a little more studying two days before 2009 spring exams.  Bethany Corbin and her boyfriend at the time were walking toward the North Campus dorms at which time a disagreement arose between them.  The disagreement escalated into a verbal confrontation.

Bethany wanting to remove herself from the situation stated she was leaving and asked a fellow student to walk her to her dorm.  Her boyfriend followed them and then shoved her since she wasn’t heeding to his demands.  Corbin was terrified but eventually worked up the courage to escape and ran to her dorm.

“I was completely in shock”, said Corbin, now a sophomore.  Prior to college, Corbin achieved a black belt in Tae Kwon Do; “even though I knew what to do, I froze.”

Now, eight months later, Corbin gears up to jumpstart her new program, Project Safe Girls, with awareness, personal safety/self-defense classes as part of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA’s afterschool program for members, 5th-8th grade.  The program will run twice a week from January 11th until the end of May, concluding with a commencement featuring the girls in a demonstration of what they have learned for their parents and friends.

Before Corbin’s assault she had the mentality and often asked, “Why don’t women leave an abusive relationship?”  “Now after my own assault, I clearly understand.  I learned a lot of things about myself, my relationships, warning signs; but nobody had told me what a healthy relationship was.  After I learned through counseling, I found that there are many females just like myself.”

Project Safe Girls focuses on educating females about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault (rape, date rape, and acquaintance rape), abduction, human trafficking, stalking, healthy relationships and general personal safety and ultimately how one can physically protect and defend herself mentally and physically.  Although the YMCA program only will be teaching young ladies from 5th-8th grade, Corbin has expanded the program to communities for school-age girls from ages 5-23 in partnership with The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company.

As an official division of The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company, Corbin’s Project Safe Girls will teach alongside the company’s founder and president, Anny Jacoby and certified Personal Defense Readiness Instructors.

Corbin’s personal experience fuels her dedication to the projects.  In the beginning of the 2009-2010 academic year, she joined three different student government committees at UNC that deal with campus safety before she solidified her idea of Project Safe Girls.

As a student at UNC, it is mandatory for students to take a life fitness course; Corbin took the art class being offered to fulfill her obligation.  “However, nothing teaches us (females) anything about personal safety and/or self-defense.”

Two grants through UNC pushed Corbin’s idea off of the ground and gaining the support of the YMCA to introduce Project Safe Girls to the community.  But Corbin recognized that she was lacking official instruction.  She began to search through “self-defense” companies and “martial art” programs to find a partner.

“I realized that I personally do not have the amount of experience and knowledge in this field that other’s have.”  Corbin’s eyes fell on Jacoby’s company, The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company partially because it is based in Chapel Hill and also because it went beyond the physical “self-defense” aspect.

“Anny’s program incorporates the mental knowledge, emotional training along with the realistic physical training,” Corbin said.  “I wanted to partner with someone who had the curriculum established that was similar to the one I was trying to implement.”  When Corbin contacted Jacoby with her idea and plans Anny welcomed the entire program with enthusiasm, embracing its practical yet passionate approach.  Jacoby is also a survivor of domestic violence and has actively advocated for females throughout the years.

“I look at Bethany not as a victim as she truly has transitioned into a Survivor and now she is an Advocate.  Bethany is devoted to her mission with passion and is truly committed in helping to educate others.  Bethany is brilliant and has so much to offer as she has taken a negative experience and is turning it into a much needed positive.” Jacoby said.  “She has a vision and she knows how to go after what she wants.  I am honored to be working with Bethany.”

“Some aspects of personal safety/self-defense have to be taught (mental and emotional) but the physical training is based on one’s natural instincts.  Statistics indicate to us that victims blame themselves for abuse or incident(s) which is farthest from the truth.  Victimization is NEVER her fault.” Jacoby said.  Corbin said that she personally experienced these feelings herself.  “I can always say that no one has the right to hurt me,” Corbin said.  “But when I was in the situation, I often thought, ‘Well, maybe it was my fault.’”

According to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, 2,239 rapes occurred in North Carolina in 2008, 83 percent of which were committed without weapons.  About 25 percent of the rape victims were 16-20 years old and 21.5 percent involved victims ages 11-15.  Orange County, North Carolina itself is ranked 27th for the worst record out of 100 North Carolina counties and Durham ranked 7th according to the Bureau.  The alarming fact is that these statistics only represent the number of assaults being reported, so many go un-reported.

“Education and prevention is the key to equip females with defensive power mentally, emotionally and physically.  If females are not taught how to fight back mentally, emotionally and ultimately physically, they do not have the knowledge or the tools for their toolbox.” Jacoby said. “Hence this is our mission with both companies – teach how one can and will be proactive, not paranoid – simply smart and alert.”

In addition to the upcoming YMCA program, Project Safe Girls is traveling throughout the country with Jacoby and instructors to raise and teach awareness, introducing personal safety training nationwide to females and to all ages through both divisions.  Corbin also seeks to start another semester-long program in local schools.

“We would like to see every school have Project Safe Girls in place to offer students, whether be optional or mandatory.  Unfortunately, it is imperative it today’s society.” Corbin said.

Corbin is a sophomore at UNC and intends to see her goal to fruition, pursuing the program for the next two years and beyond, she said.  “I intend to provide education and training every day of my life and am working toward making it my career,” Corbin said.

To sign up for a class or inquire about the programs, visit both companies’ websites:

Project Safe Girls – http://www.projectsafegirls.com


The Realistic Female Self –Defense Company –http://realisticfemaleselfdefense.com


Anny Jacoby – http://annyjacoby.com


Office:  919-225-1421

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