Self-defense class helps young women prepare for college

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 5, 2016) - A self-defense class in central Indiana focuses on preparing college-bound girls for life on campus.

Leah Severson created the "Bulletproof" program because she felt she needed to do more to ensure her daughters were ready to leave home and protect themselves during their college years. She said she took notice of the high-profile cases involving female Indiana college students going missing or even being killed.  So, she wanted to take action.

"The project just grew and grew until it became a book," Severson said. "And then from the book, I thought we really need to take a self defense class."

Now, Severson is a certified self-defense instructor who teaches classes for young women and their mothers.

"The most important part of the class is the self awareness, paying attention to your surroundings, paying attention to the body language of people around you so that you can learn to spot when something or someone isn’t quite right," she said.

And, it's not just about physical defense. Severson reviews things like the warning signs of alcohol poisoning and how to determine whether you're in an abusive relationship.

"Women ages 16 to 24 experience more domestic violence than any other age group, yet most parents are not talking to their kids when they start dating about what are the signs of a potentially dangerous boyfriend," she said. "These classes are a springboard to start that conversation."

Jodi Reeder took one of the self-defense classes with her daughters.

"I found out mace may not be the best choice, but that’s what both of them had as they went off to college," Reeder said. "I now know there’s much better solutions out there for them. You kind of have to be prepared, and practicing these techniques that Leah has given us is very critical. Knowing how to react to the situation that you’re in is key."

There is a push to fill the self-defense classes in April in honor of National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. You can sign up here.

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