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Fighting back against crimes targeting women

St. Rose, Henderson Police and Rape Crisis Center join to teach women and girls to avoid and defend themselves against sexual assault and other crimes

Officer Raymond Wilkins of The Henderson Police Department’s Community Relations Unit instructs a teenage participant how to properly dispense pepper spray during a women’s self-defense class hosted at St. Rose de Lima campus, Jan. 20. photo by Buford Davis.
January 24, 2013
The Henderson police officers did not mince words.

"You have to set boundaries, and then you have to play in your mind what you're going to do," Officer Glen Hughes told a gathering of a dozen women and girls.

"You have to play through your mind ripping somebody's eyeball out. If you haven't thought about it, you're never going to do it if that situation presents itself. Just think of the psychological impact you can have with something like that."

Hughes and Officer Raymond Wilkins, both from the community relations unit, host women's self-defense classes Jan. 18 at St. Rose Dominican Hospitals Rose de Lima's campus quarterly.

The officers instructed the class particpants on the basics of self-defense and steps to prevent a would be attacker from acting. The most important factor? Awareness and the ability to act assertively when necessary.

"As you think about somebody trying to take your life, you have to take yourself out of who you are every day and put yourself in another situation," Hughes, who was been an officer in HPD for five years, told the audience. "'This is what I'm willing to do to prevent this."

Although the statistical risk any given woman in the valley will fall victim to violent crime is statistically relatively low, Ashley Martinez of the Rape Crisis Center shared eye opening numbers.

One in three women, and one in six men, will be the victim of assault before age 18, according to Martinez. She said around 4,500 rapes are reported in Clark County annually and it is estimated that only one in ten sexual assaults in ever reported.

Women of all ages participate in the classes, including pre-teens, including two girls who on this day were listening attentively to the frank talk about date rape drugs, mindfulness that can reduce vulnerability and life or death combat.

"There's fight or flight or freeze," said Wilkins, an eight year HPD veteran. "Sometimes we forget about the freeze."

"You guys have phenomenal instincts, whether you believe it or not," said Hughes. "Trust them."

For information about upcoming classes, call the Henderson Police community relations unit at 267-5100.

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