Project Safe Girls…Stopping Violence Against Females

December 29, 2009

Safety first:  a mantra Bethany Corbin now lives by to the letter.

After a personal experience with domestic violence, Corbin, a sophomore international studies and economic major at UNC, threw herself into educating other young girls.  Her program, Project Safe Girls, teaches girls ages 5-23 about domestic violence, sexual assault (rape, date rape, and acquaintance rape), abduction, human trafficking, stalking, healthy relationships and general personal safety and ultimately how one can protect and defend herself mentally, emotionally and physically.

Project Safe Girls will kick off training through the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA’s middle school afterschool program and is expanding rapidly through other schools, throughout the nation and is striving to make the program a safety prevention course requirement in all school systems.

“I want Project Safe Girls to be widely known throughout the US, said Anny Jacoby, founder and President of The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company, of which Project Safe Girls is an official division.  “Project Safe Girls will take on its own form and it will shine as it is a much needed program for all communities.”

Jacoby has worked closely with Corbin to develop the program since Corbin approached the company.  As sister organizations, both programs teach women essentially the same techniques, mentally and physically, geared to specific age groups.  Corbin’s project gears specifically to girls ages 5-23 enrolled in school from kindergarten to college, whereas The Realistic Female Self-Defense Company teaches females of all ages.

The first step of the course lies in the awareness portion of safety, as awareness is the first step to any form of personal safety/self-defense.  Instructors teach characteristics of unhealthy vs. healthy relationships/situations.  Red flags and warning signs are significant signals of potential or existing abuse.  Power and Control is the dominate factor which every form of abuse centers around.

Lessons in de-escalation are taught – how to diffuse a potential dangerous/violent situation in an attempt to warn off a physical altercation.  De-escalation techniques range from eye contact and a confident yet non-threatening demeanor to talking in low tones and maintaining a safe distance between the persons.

“De-Escalation starts with non-verbal behaviors,” Jacoby said.  “Techniques consist of your demeanor, your presence, your body language.  But the only way that an individual obtains the confidence and knowledge is by studying and understanding how an assailant thinks, how you need to be thinking, and then knowing how you can defend yourself verbally and ultimately non-verbally if needed.”

The lessons in the non-physical aspects of personal safety/self-defense form the backbone of the Corbin’s and Jacoby’s programs.

“We promote violence prevention, raising awareness and the skills to reduce susceptibility to violence,” Jacoby said.  “The way that you promote prevention is through education.”

Physical personal safety/self-defense training is a major part of the female’s safety equation.  Females are taught how men/assailants think, vulnerable body areas other than the groin – which men expect a female to target – and how to use knowledge as an advantage.  “Fighting back is not about staying in the “ring” going ten rounds,” Jacoby said.  “We fight males with knowledge, not with strength; and knowledge is a powerful tool.  But you must know what your tools (mentally and physically) are and how to effectively use them.”

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