Know how to defend yourself: TCU Police’s free personal safety workshops



The TCU Police Department. (Heesoo Yang/Staff Photographer)

By Emma Watson, Staff Writer

TCU Police is currently offering free personal safety workshops to students, run by Sergeant Richard Martinez. Workshops can be scheduled when and where a student or organization wants.

Martinez said TCU is a relatively safe campus, however, anything can happen to anyone, especially when students leave campus, and self-defense and being aware of your surroundings can help prevent an incident from occurring.

Classes are about an hour long and teach students how to combat their attacker in order to get away. The officers try to keep it simple and easy to learn.

Students in Milton Daniel Hall participating in a self-defense course. (Kyla Vogel/TCU 360)

“[The] stuff that we teach is almost the same stuff that we teach for police officers,” Martinez said. “We don’t teach that student…to stay in the fight. Our main angle is to teach them how to get away from an attacker, mostly more of a stun and run technique.”

This is the second year TCU Police has held safety workshops. They have previously offered Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, but these classes were two days long, eight hours each day. Martinez believes the one-hour time commitment of the workshops will be more accessible to college students.

Martinez and Officer Debbie Rusnak, who helps Martinez with the workshops, includes real-life scenarios in the courses.

For example, Martinez emphasized how important it is to scream loud. Last year, a female was attacked on campus, and her scream scared the attacker away and alerted students nearby.

The TCU Triathlon team set up a workshop with the police on the night of Wednesday, Sept. 21. after a Tennessee woman was abducted on her morning jog and murdered. The team said they wanted to know how to defend themselves.

“I think it just reminded us, it reminded me, that a lot of these girls just probably haven’t been taught some of these things and little things like not wearing your headphones,” said Jenny Garrison, the coach of the triathlon team.


Being prepared

Safety and awareness go beyond running alone; it’s also good to know for walking late at night or on campus.

“At any point in time, anything can happen, and I think just…being prepared and ready for any situation can help keep you safe,” said first-year biology major Annabella Veltcheva.

The goal is for students to know how to use the defense tactics they learn in the future.

“It’s something they can take with them after they graduate, you know they can teach their families, their kids…in the future,” said Martinez.

Garrison explained that if the students can use these lessons five or 10 years down the road in a situation, the classes are definitely worth it.

“A lot of the students I run across from the past classes, they’ll come to me, ‘Hey, I remember this, or I remember I did this to my friend,’ and so they have a good time and they remember it,” Martinez said.

He said that it makes him and the other officers feel good that the students are using what they’ve taught them and enjoying the workshops.

For more information or to schedule a workshop, email Sergeant Martinez at [email protected].