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09 Features Self defence is the greatest pre-emptive attack

Ciara Guiry tackles self defence head on, and fore- warns us dangers we cannot ignore

My brother very wearily called over to see me recently with a Nokia phone battery. A spare bat- tery, to keep in my bag and when (I have the eventuality and foolish- ness of forgetting to charge my phone) my phone dies I am to im- mediately change batteries over so I am once again available to the world- and more importantly the world is available to me.

This might sound like an ex-

treme for some but in today's soci- ety walking through Patrick's street, North Main Street or even through campus, the paranoid mind can wander when passing a group of people or having the feel- ing that one is being followed. At least with phone in hand I can call for "back up" if needs be.

With this as a theme in my head,

and in a bid of self preservation this week I signed up for, and went to a self defence class. This class cater for men and women of all ages. Yet not one man other than the instructor was to be seen. When I asked the instructor about this during our first break (kicking the groin of a possible phantom at- tacker repeatedly can really take it out of you) if many men avail of this free service he explained, "in Ireland, men are driven by a more protective instinct, they want to look after whoever else is around if something out of control occurs on a night out. They don't want to be seen as weak- coming to a self defence class would be considered just that."

That comment stayed with me

throughout the day- was it a fair as- sessment to make of Irish men? I have been in a few situations where a group of individuals had started a physical fight near me and the people I was with at the time were guys. Looking back on it, it is true- they went into protective mode. Quietly moving us away from the scene. But then as I thought about that I realised my problem with this was the paradox of the idea in my head.

Shouldn't we intervene if two

people are beating each other to a pulp? That was my next question. "Never intervene in a physical al- tercation- call the nearest security, or the guards. Never take it upon yourself to go between a fight. The adrenalin alone will mean you will end up the loser."

What about if a man and woman

are having an argument on the street and you fear for the woman?

"In that case you should call the guards immediately, with my expe- rience the majority of these cases end up with the couple turning on you". Therefore avoidance is the number one rule when coming upon a fight. Just make sure you don't put yourself in danger and then call the proper authorities.

We moved onto a tenser sce-

nario with the idea of you yourself being attacked and how to deal with it. Being one to suffer from an exhausting overactive imagination I did worry that a paranoid state after this class would mean I would never leave the house again. Thankfully that wasn't the case. We discussed as a group numerous scenarios that can lead to a prob- lematic outcome.

Research provided by the Cork

Guards and the Rape Crisis Centre Ireland have shown the most at- tacks occur between 3am-8am, a lone woman walking home. "Easy targets" such as girls with head- phones in or on the phone are the most likely candidate as they are distracted and probably don't even notice a person in close pursuit of them. Another uneasy thought is the fact that a girl with her hair in a pony tail is an easier target as catching her is just that little bit easier.

Statistical research performed

in Europe in 2008 state that 1 in 3 women experience some form of assault or attack, sexual or other- wise in their lifetime. In America a study in 2005 showed that every 2 minutes a woman is raped and in Australia 19% of women aged be- tween 19-24 are attacked. These are shocking and disturbing statis- tics that have become a fact of everyday life. But just because they exist does not mean people have to fall victim to them.

Many incidents that are reported

only take minutes to occur, when a person strays from the group they are with. If someone appears drunk and willing to speak to strangers outside a nightclub or pub at clos- ing time they can considered an easy victim.

If the worst happens and some-

one accosts you on a night out then the most important thing is to make as much noise as possible. It has been proven that when shocked or startled the vocal chords freeze which makes screaming next to impossible. If that is the case make your attacker the one to make the noise. Stomping on the foot- the

most obvious choice and easiest aim for any of us. He isn't afraid so he will most certainly make enough noise if in pain.

The one problem with "fighting

back" as explained to us by our burly teacher was that you can never be certain what the attacker is carrying. If you decide to cause the person pain but do not fully commit to the punch. Stomp or bite you are going to inflict them with then you may actually leave you far more vulnerable. The message was clear; if you are going to fight back, then do it.

We went through a few light

physical altercations which made me worry about the state of many teenage girls that could find them- selves in a situation they cannot control. It is most certainly time for secondary schools to introduce self defence classes in all year’s cur- riculums- after all; in my Alma mater we spent the majority of re- ligion class watching such gems as "Save the Last Dance" and "The Green Mile". Fun as all the mind- less distraction was I can't help but think it would have been far more beneficial if I had been shown a few tips in making and keeping myself safe.

The most assuring thing about

Cork City is the fact that many streets and walk ways are very well

September 28th 2010

Be sensible. Don’t walk home alone.

lit. If a light is broken near your home or along you regular route or if you feel there could be more lights needed in a certain area con- tact Airtricity either online on traf- fic@corkcityieor by phone on 1850 372 772. If it a light that doesn't seem to be working you must have the number which is written, usually on a yellow sticker half way up the pole and give them the location of the problem.

The main thing I took away

from the class was that I am the only person that can be in charge of my own safety. It might sound self righteous to preach such a thing after a one day work shop. But the idea was drilled into my head. Stay out of the dark alleyway even if it is a shortcut and charge the phone if you know you will be getting a lone traffic or bus jour- ney. NEVER walk home alone. Don't be afraid to get one of your

guy friends to act the gentleman and see you home.

As we packed up and started to

make our way towards the door I noted the silence that the room was now met with. What had been con- sidered a social outing for some girls on a Saturday morning and become food for thought. Not something to worry about, just something to be aware of and pass along. Self defence in Ireland is fi- nally becoming a popular lesson, and it's about time.

Anglesea Street Garda Station: 021 452 2000

Campus security: 021 4903111 / 021 4902266

Sexual Violence Centre: 021 450 5577

Mature Students: Not over the hill

Lorraine Wall introduces readers to the world of ma- ture students and hopes to bring a fresh perspective on what they can offer society

They thought we were too old, not cool enough and just plain boring, but the mature student body invading UCC campus for the upcoming year promises any- thing but the above. Having had the prestigious award of Student of the Year bestowed on Owen Dineen, a recent Commerce Graduate from University Col- lege Cork for the academic year 2009, we can all safely agree that we, the mature student body, form an intricate piece of what makes UCC such a valuable in- stitution of learning.

We came here with our hopes smashed by the economic down- turn, our lives ripped apart by the 6:00 o’clock news droning on night after night of more job cuts throughout Cork and the entire Nation and numbers rising on the live register. What hopes could we bring to our families at the

dinner table with this racket com- ing from RTE? Our hopes now rest in the upcoming years and what we might obtain from and offer to our university.

I had studied philosophy after earning my High School diploma in the United States and further qualified as a legal secretary. I dared not dream of studying again. It seemed my life was laid out for me. I was a gainfully employed legal secretary. However, life as- sures us of one thing and one thing only, that ‘change is eminent’. Subsequently, my change in cir- cumstances saw me on a journey which began as I walked through the doors of the Cork College of Commerce to pursue a course in Advanced Legal Studies and led to the wrought iron gates of Univer- sity College Cork in 2009 to pur- sue an undergraduate qualification in law. I have never regretted the

time spent and sacrifices made since I began this part of my journey in life. The lectures have been what we boxers would de- scribe the best to be, class.

Being of the mature student cat- egory, I possessed many ideals which have been challenged and subsequently have altered even some of my core beliefs. I wel- come my fellow mature col- leagues to open your minds to this process of learning within your respective discipline and hope that you find your way smoothly through the initial chaos of the first few harrowing weeks. Through all your chal- lenges I wish you all a very good year, congratulate you on your admission and encourage your involvement in clubs and soci- eties which interest you. Please, always bear in mind that the ma- ture student body is a valuable piece of what makes UCC the learning institution that it is today.

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