The Women’s Leadership Project concluded their annual Red Flag Campaign with a workshop that provided potentially life-saving information.
Partnered with the Defensive Tactics Club and Kenton Russell, instructor in the Department of Justice Studies, WLP hosted their semiannual self-defense workshop, which taught women and men the skills needed when one’s personal safety may be in danger.
From pressure points to getting away from a chokehold, the Fort Hays State University’s Defensive Tactics Club has been pairing up with WLP since the spring of 2010, with each year bringing students and community members out to Cunningham Hall. This year was no exception: Nearly 30 men and women came to work with 16 coaches.
“The Defensive Tactics coaches and Kenton Russell make it fun, but they also make it educational,” said Christie Brungardt, director of the WLP.
Brungardt, along with freshman Maggie Thibault and senior Brittney Jacobs, have worked on bringing dating violence and other red flags of dating to the attention of those on campus. October featured posters, presentations and displays around campus, making students staff and community members aware of how red flags take form in relationships. These warning signs include stalking, victim blame and emotional abuse.
“I feel like we penetrated several areas on campus from athletics to the Res Halls, academic classes to the general student population…” Brungardt said. “Because of an article [in the Leader] when we kicked off the Red Flag Campaign, there was a posting about Fort Hays State University of the National Red Flag Campaign website, so we had some national recognition as well,” Brungardt said.
“Even with me and Brittney being new, we got to hit a lot of different groups and a lot of different people so I think next year we’ll do even better,” Thibault said.
Brungardt stated that she and the WLP plan on hosting more workshops in the future. Next semester will include coaching from Kenton Russell and his team. Brungardt added that the importance of having these events on campus is increased by necessity and facts.
“What drives me is since I know the information about gender-based violence on campus and I know that those numbers are increasing, it makes it all the more pressing that everyone on a college campus knows how to defend themselves.
“I think it is just so important because even if you’re positive it’s never going to happen to you, which no one can be, you need to be aware of it for your friends, and you need to say something to people if you see it in your friends’ relationships, in your siblings’ relationships. It is a fact of life that gender-based violence occurs and the more of us that are more educated, the more of us will reduce it. So I say that to anyone that thinks it doesn’t matter, they just need to learn more about it,” Brungardt said.
The Women’s Leadership Project will host several other events on campus open to both students and community members. For more information on WLP’s event’s and programs including the American Association of University Women, contact WLP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (785) 628-4312.