Self-Defense Takes Center Stage

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

Two recent College Station incidents have us thinking about how to protect ourselves.

Last week a woman was allegedly abducted while jogging along Southwest Parkway and raped and just this weekend a 16-year-old girl told police she escaped an alleged kidnapping.

Because of incidents like these, self-defense classes are popping up everywhere to make sure you don't become a victim.

One class at Texas A&M University is teaching students what it's like to be attacked. They are also learning what it's like to survive.

"Since I've been here it's boosted my confidence level," Texas A&M student Theresa Bernzen said.

Bernzen signed up for the self-defense course because her mother said so, but the curriculum would soon hit home. Theresa's friend was sexually assaulted earlier this year.

"It was a shocker that it could actually happen in College Station which I thought was one of the most safe places," Bernzen said.

Thirty students attend the class, once a week, to learn what to do in a scary situation.

"A lot of it is focusing on awareness and avoidance, not putting yourself in a situation where you would become vulnerable to an attack."

For decades the course has been full of mostly girls, but some guys do step up to the challenge.

"It's every guys' responsibility to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen," Texas A&M student Dale Googer said.

With a little practice and a lot of awareness, these students are ready to defend themselves.

"If I were to be attacked, I have a basic understanding of what do in the situation," Bernzen said.

Police are still investigating both the alleged sexual assault and attempted kidnapping.

Police say the kidnapping suspect is described as a 40-year-old white man, about 5'9'', 160 pounds with gray hair, brown eyes and a mustache. Police say he was last seen wearing tan shorts, a white TAMU T-shirt and sandals.

The man's description is different than the men accused of the alleged sexual assault. Police say they are described as black men; two are believed to be between the ages of 25 and 32 and between 5'6'' and 5'10''.

If you have any information on either incident, you're asked to call College Station police at 764-3600.

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