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Defense Against Sexual Assault Class for WPAFB and Wright State University
FAIRBORN -- Sexual assault in the military is being reported more and more everyday.
But our military is now learning how to protect themselves and teaching civilians the same thing.
"Let's go ahead and stand up please," and the instructor. "Base!" shouted the class.
Base is much like the basics for these airmen and civilians.
"If you're kneeling like this and a guy approaches you, you just gotta get up," said the instructor. "Go!" he shouted.
Ninety men and women from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and 10 from Wright State University are learning how to defend themselves.
"Someone has to be able to establish boundaries and these are both psychological as well as physical and verbal boundaries," said Rener Gracie, Head Instructor for Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
Gracie has been teaching self-defense classes for 18 years, but these past few, he's turned his attention to the military.
"It wasn't until recently that we became aware of the shocking and growing number of sexual assault instances in the armed forces," said Gracie.
It's estimated that 26,000 sexual assaults happened last year in the U.S. Armed Forces, but only 3,600 were reported.
Just last year, Congress passed a bill that helps protect military sexual assault victims. It's in response to the brutal murder of Maria Lauterbach by Cesar Laurean in 2007, after she accused her fellow Marine of rape.
But for those in Monday's class, it's all about the knowledge they'll gain.
"Being in the military and just being a woman in general you tend to feel just a sense of maybe defeatedness when you're around so many men and particularly my size so I think this will definitely give me a sense of confidence in knowing that I have the knowledge to be able to protect myself if I am attacked," said Second Lt. Cora Veice, Avionics Engineer for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The skills they learn will not only help others, and themselves, but is exactly what our armed forces want to represent.
"They're learning about assertiveness, and they're learning about self-confidence, and self-efficacy, and those are the skills that we want in our culture in the Air Force," said Col. Cassie Barlow, 88th Wing Commander for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
The Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy has trained more than 500 military personnel across the country to defend themselves, and also teach others the same skills.
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