ORGANISERS of a self-defence class in Terang say they aim to give women the confidence to get out of a violent situation.
Jill Cole and Wendy Delaney from Funakoshi Karate International held the session on Wednesday night after they gauged interest via social media.
Mrs Cole said she and Mrs Delaney decided to put out an expression of interest on Facebook and were surprised by the response they got.
“We had about 20 people register in two hours,” she said.
“We had 30 people register to attend.”
Both women are karate senseis and have three black belt levels.
They said after the murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne there had been more media and community attention around women’s safety.
“There’s more publicity about it and I think it’s about females not feeling safe,” Mrs Delaney said.
“The level of interest indicates there is a need for it.”
Mrs Cole said she’d had a call from one mother whose daughter was moving to Melbourne next year and she wanted her to be able to protect herself.
Mrs Delaney said the class was about learning basic defence and if there was enough interest they would look at establishing more sessions.
She said if a person was attacked the the first thing they should do is use their voice loud and confidently.
“Yell stop, or go, or don’t,” she said. “They will know that you’re not an easy target.
“We want them to feel confident that hopefully they can get out of a situation.
“We’re teaching basic stuff. There’ll be no Jackie Chan moves or high kicks in the air. It’s so women know how to hit the vulnerable bits. Or how to fall safely if you’re pushed forward and not damage your head
“The first rule of self-defence is to not put yourself in a situation where you feel you might have to use it.
“It’s like house insurance, you pay it but hope you’ll never have to use it.”
However Women's Health and Wellbeing Barwon South West acting CEO Nathalie Davis said it should not be the responsibility of potential victims of violence to protect themselves and more needed to be done to understand and address the underlying causes of violence against women.
Dr Davis said violence against women was a choice and was caused by sexist attitudes, disrespect for women and gender inequity. "Everyone has a role to play in the prevention of violence against women, not just women learning to protect themselves,” she said.
“We need to work to prevent violence against women from happening in the first place through a whole of community response."