The Johns Creek Police Department is teaching women how to defend themselves in the face of danger.
The class is called READY, which stands for “recognizing, empowering and defending yourself,” and emphasizes the importance for women and teen girls to be able to take care of themselves.
Lt. Deb Kalish with the Johns Creek Police Department has been teaching this self-defense course in Johns Creek for about 12 years. It’s free to the public and she says the demand is always overwhelming.
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“Every time I put it on, there is a long waiting list for people. I actually can’t teach it enough,” Kalish said.
Alecia McLaughlin brought her daughter Alana to the class for her birthday.
“My daughter just graduated high school, and she is about to go study abroad for a year in Valencia, Spain. I thought that it would be an appropriate time to make sure she’s aware of how to stay safe-- and it won’t hurt me, either,” McLaughlin said.
Like every mom, McLaughlin says she worries about her baby no matter her age. She hopes this class equips her with the skills she needs to protect herself.
Kalish says trusting your instincts is key.
“We tend to ignore our own instincts and go into denial about what actually is really going on, because we think, ‘Oh, we don’t want to say we’re thinking bad about somebody or we’re judging them,” Kalish said. “It’s OK. Your instincts are there for a reason.”
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And she says to stay focused and aware of what’s around you-- meaning put down those phones.
“They’ve done a lot of studies, and victims are often picked by the way that they walk and how they carry themselves,” Kalish said, adding that eye contact is also crucial. We all tend to try to avoid eye contact when we’re feeling uncomfortable, but letting the person know that you saw them is key.”
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