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Students Find Self-Defense Class Empowering

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Women stand with a fist-- ready to put their
RALEIGH — Local college campuses are getting safer. Safe Rides programs and emergency callboxes drive away crime. But today's students aren't waiting for the schools to take action. They're taking their safety into their own hands.

Campus police take a lot of steps to protect students. Emergency phones are just one method to help them do that. Even police will tell you, you also need to know how to protect yourself.

Dozens of police officers patrol NC State 24 hours a day. But they're just as worried about crime near campus. During the '96-'97 school year, there were no murders or rapes on campus, and only 10 aggravated assaults. But police reported three murders and 21 rapes within two miles of campus, and more than 150 assaults.

Police say thousands of commuting students are vulnerable to crime. A group of Meredith College students are learning to free themselves from an attacker's grasp. The techniques are part of a karate and self-defense course.

"I was concerned about my safety," says student, Lisa Chapman, "and this gives me a chance to learn some skills."

Students are learning more than self-defense techniques. The course also teaches them to discourage criminals from choosing them as a target.

Instructor Kathy Olevski says strength is more of a mindset. Olevski believes women have to understand that they are capable of taking care of themselves.

These women are being taught to use momentum, and their minds, to regain control. Students say it's empowering.

Campus police recommend that all students take a course in self-defense. Such a class is offered at Meredith and Peace Colleges, as well as at NC State's via campus police.


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