Women Empower Women

By Savannah Taffe, MUTV-23 News Reporter

COLUMBIA- On many college campuses, one in five women between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of rape, abuse and other forms of attack, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. To make sure that women remain safe and secure, Mizzou provides free Self-Defense Courses that give women the power in any dangerous situation. The courses provide women with physical and in-class training that mimic various life-threatening situations and teach them how to effectively protect themselves. 

Lt. April Colbrecht lives and breathes this mentality as she heads the Women’s Self-Defense Courses every year. Lt. Colbrecht describes the courses as “empowering”, “enlightening”, and “complete”. The courses are constructed to “empower” young women in giving them their strength back, “enlighten” them in regards to safety measures and learning their weaknesses, and “complete” them as these courses are not only completed per the set agenda but tend to make the young women feel like they’ve accomplished something. 

“It’s one of my favorite things ever,” said Lt. Colbrecht. “Watching and teaching women to go out and be confident and seeing women grow, just in the time we have them here.” 

The courses are set up on different levels and increase in intensity as a student progresses. The first set of classes are the Basic Rape Aggression Defense, followed by Advanced RAD, and closing with the Combined Aerosol/Keychain Defense courses. These classes are set up so that as the young women enroll in each class, they can apply what they’ve learned in the previous class to whatever they choose to take next. 

Normally, the classes commence in June and continue throughout the rest of the year. This year, classes are held differently than from previous years. Due to COVID-19, only the classroom portion of the courses are provided, but for the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, all summer and fall classes have been canceled. Although COVID-19 remains, Lt. Colbrecht and the other instructors are diligently working to restore the classes to the interactive learning environment it was before, while following the COVID-19 guidelines.   

“It’s a great class and I think this is the one thing that Covid has really put a damper on for me because we haven’t been able to teach these classes,” said Lt. Colbrecht. “We can’t wait to get back teaching again.” 

Edited by Rachel Henderson

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