Self Defense Classes Keep San Jac Community SHARP

Sexual assault has no regard for gender. One in every five women and one in every sixteen men are attacked while attending college. In light of that statistic, the Office of Student Engagement and Activities, formerly Student Life, in conjunction with the San Jacinto College Police Department (SJCPD), is hosting a Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP) training course on the College’s three campuses.

SHARP training provides written and physical education to students regarding the use of pressure points, distraction techniques, and countermeasures to reduce the incidence of rape and sexual assault.

Coordinator of Student Engagement, Amanda Rose, said the organizations seeks to “provide education and awareness to students regarding domestic, sexual, personal, and physical violence” as it may help to strengthen a student’s confidence during an aggressive encounter.

According to SJCPD Sergeant LeAnderay Collins, the most recent Annual Campus Security Report for the Central campus included only one reported incident of domestic violence and stalking during the 2014 school year.

Rose said although the reported statistics are particularly low, “we are trying to be proactive.”

The SHARP training is learned by staff through the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Center and is designed for participants to acquire skills in pressure point control tactics to ward off attackers. Inflicting pain to a person’s pressure point allows the victim sufficient time to get away and call for help.

Collins said learning and practicing the skills boosts confidence and allows victims to effectively free themselves from harm.

“Regardless of the size, age, or mobility of a person, you can inflict severe pain and debilitate someone by using the pressure point techniques,” Rose added.

Sexual assault is not discriminatory against size, strength or gender. Even though the incidence of sexual assault against males is significantly lower than women, it is also considerably underreported.

Rose noted, the training is not gender-biased and “does recognize that even men are faced with the same forms of domestic violence as women.”

Furthermore, the training is offered once a month with the location varying to all three campuses. The organizers claim anyone who seeks to maintain personal safety is welcome to attend the training.

Instructors are certified in SHARP training to ensure they have the ability to teach effective assault countermeasures.

“In order to facilitate with students, we must attend a week-long certification class and pass a written and physical test,” Rose said.

Campus police are also involved in training as they are more familiar with the legalities concerning the use of force. Rose stressed even though many students believe the police are on campus to “just write parking tickets,” they have much more to offer.

“They are here to be a resource for students, are advocates to educate and build trusting relationships with students, and offer community policing,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Rose said one does not have to rely on their size or muscular physique to fend off an attacker, adding “it’s all about technique.”

The next SHARP training will take place April 12 at 12 p.m. in Student Center (C14) on the Central campus.