Girls learn self-de­fence skills

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL SPORT -

A fe­male’s best means of self de­fence isn’t just her hands and feet. Her in­stinct, mind and voice come into play too, self-de­fence in­struc­tor San­dra Ste­wart says. Funded by the Women’s Self De­fence Net­work Wahine Toa, year 7 and 8 girls at Alexan­dra Pri­mary School also learned last week that their best line of de­fence was them­selves. ‘‘It’s about giv­ing the girls choices, about em­pow­er­ing them in sit­u­a­tions where they may need to make de­ci­sions,’’ Ms Ste­wart said. Based in Cas­tle Rock near Lums­den, she had been an in­struc­tor for 12 years, reg­u­larly trav­el­ling to Cen­tral Otago schools to teach the course, which for Year 7-8 girls ran for three days, and was con­densed into one day to cater for Year 3-4 girls. Cour­ses were also avail­able for Year 10-12 students. Con­tent in­cluded how to deal with be­ing fol­lowed, ob­scene phone calls or texts, ac­quain­tance and stranger at­tacks, sex­ual harass­ment, get­ting out of grabs and holds, and how to think their way out of threat­en­ing sit­u­a­tions. Avail­able na­tion­ally to se­lected schools, the cour­ses in­volved dis­cus­sions, games, phys­i­cal ses­sions and role plays. Alexan­dra Pri­mary teacher Tif­fany Kemp said the girls were ‘‘learn­ing life skills and ev­ery­day com­mon sense around their own per­sonal safety’’.

Girl power: Role play­ing and swap­ping was the name of the self­de­fence game at Alexan­dra Pri­mary School girls Laura Hen­der­son (left) and Raima­paha Wil­son.

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