The Family Crisis Center will hold self-defense classes for Teen Violence Awareness Month for high school girls in the Rexburg and Rigby area starting Feb. 14, to teach local residents about the dangers young women face.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse,1 in 3 women have been victims of physical abuse, and on average 20 people per minute are physically abused.
“When a person is being assaulted there is either the fight, flight or freeze response and this program can help prepare you to respond to such situation,” said Julie Leavitt, the public awareness coordinator at the Family Crisis Center and a senior studying communication.
Arielle Trujillo, an Airforce veteran and a senior majoring in university studies, will be teaching the classes.
Trujillo has trained in various forms of mixed martial arts such as boxing, krav maga, muay thai and jiujitsu.
Trujillo has been teaching self-defense classes for a couple years and runs an Instagram and YouTube channel named “fightqueenschannel,” where she teaches self-defense.
Trujillo taught an introductory self-defense course hosted by the Wellness Center last semester that focused mostly on mental tools instead of physical.
“There was not a lot of attendance,” Trujillo said. “It’s really hard to get people to take it seriously and to get the word out. That is the only (class) I have done on campus.”
BYU-Idaho offers the Rape Aggression Defense System for only a few classes to students.
In addition to R.A.D., there are various martial arts clubs that could offer equivalent tools for self-defense.
“The whole basis of self-defense is empowerment,” Trujillo said. “It’s just so you see what you are capable of and then you can find a place within yourself where you can say ‘I can do this, I am strong.'”
Trujillo said she believes women are socially conditioned to be quiet and small which is why her program is based on krav maga.
“Krav maga is pure aggression and it’s something we, as women, need,” Trujillo said.
Olivia Gruwell, a junior majoring in marriage and family studies, said she would love having a self-defense class on campus because it boosts confidence.
“When I feel like I can take care of myself and handle myself in whatever situation I am in, I am more confident to do whatever it is that I want to do, even in terrible situations,” Gruwell said.
Gruwell said she believes self-defense classes are important and necessary for BYU-I.
“I think there is a lot of confidence that comes when you know that you can defend yourself,” said Shayla Danielson, a senior studying psychology.
Danielson also said she believes self-defense teaches common sense and street smarts to avoid dangerous situations.
“I don’t think abuse is on the rise, I just think more people know more about it,” Leavitt said.
Trujillo and Leavitt said they are grateful that the Family Crisis Center is available to help BYU-I students.
Trujillo said sometimes BYU-I students come to the Family Crisis Center to report abuse in fear that they may be kicked out of the school.
“What happens a lot is that victims will go to the Family Crisis Center because there is no unintentional or intentional retribution through the Honor Code,” Trujillo said.
The purpose of the self-defense classes is to help women in Rexburg feel more prepared when facing such situations and less scared to act against violence, Trujillo said.
Although the classes are currently not given to college-aged women, Trujillo and Leavitt said they would be happy to do one, if people are interested in it, at no cost.