Charlotte women learning how to protect themselves after sexual assault and violence


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46) — One out of every six women in the U.S has been the victim of an attempted or completed sexual assault.

Right now in Charlotte, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says overall crime is down, but one group is preparing women should they have to defend themselves. 

Amber Staklinski is training young girls and women on how to be ready when violence strikes. The pandemic is causing women to feel less safe.

Fewer people are out and it’s less likely someone will jump in to help you if you’re attacked. Staklinski teaches techniques that could help women get away safely.

“We’ve seen a large increase in women reaching out they feel less safe in their environment,” Staklinski said. “You can’t rely on other people to come to your protection, it’s very important especially as a woman to be able to take care of yourself so that if the 20 other people around you are pulling out their phones or running off in the other direction you have options to protect yourself.”

Staklinksi is a lead self-defense trainer at Fit To Fight Charlotte. She teaches people to use verbal commands and to keep their distance from an attacker.

She also shows them how to use their body as a weapon and shield as a last result. It’s that training that’s empowering Susan Zimmerman.

Although these scenarios offer only a glimpse into what could really happen, it’s keeping women like her prepared and on high alert.

“I hope to never see myself in a situation like that but I at least feel like I could handle myself if something were to happen,” Zimmerman said.

“I’m exhausted because I got my butt whipped but I do feel empowered and like I learned some great tools.”

If you ever feel uneasy about the area you’re in or see someone who looks suspicious, try to leave the area or find a nearby store to go inside.

You should also call the police. Staying in high traffic areas and places well lit with streetlights could also help keep you safe.

“I want women to take away from the training that they are capable of protecting themselves and going to violence if it’s necessary,” Staklinski said. “I would much rather they deal with the situation before it even gets there.”

For more information about FTF Charlotte and when the next self-defense class will be hosted CLICK HERE.

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