HAMMOND – "Be Aware," a free self-defense seminar for women, will be offered at the Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center in Walker on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m.
Presented by senior nursing students from the Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing, the program will provide practical tips for women on remaining safe in public, including self-defense techniques. The program is oriented to women ages 16 and up.
"There is so much that we can do as women to protect ourselves," said Myia Erwin, senior nursing student from Zachary who is helping to coordinate the project, "including common awareness of our surroundings, an understanding of what predators look for, and knowing some basic physical techniques that can enable escape from a dangerous situation."
Erwin and her fellow students selected the topic for their capstone project, a community outreach research course required of all senior nursing students at Southeastern. Nursing Professor Susan Pryor is serving as their faculty mentor on the project.
"The capstone course is intended to prepare students in planning a population-focused program to promote health and/or injury prevention," Pryor said. "The students have done an excellent job on a very important and timely topic."
The seminar will include an overview on the prevalence of violence and attacks against women, resources available to assist women who may be victims of violence, and a presentation of defensive techniques by a representative of the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
"One only has to look at the headlines to see how very common violence against women has become," Erwin said. "A woman is raped every 46 seconds, and approximately 25 percent of girls will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 18 years old. However, awareness and self-defense can become a habit and has been shown to reduce the risk of violence or assault."
Other Southeastern nursing students involved in the project include Brooke Bourgeois, Christian Walker, Raveen Coon, Elizabeth Venable, Chelsey Cedotal and Jessie Cheese.