Temple’s students need to know how to use self-defense

A student argues that Temple should be informing students about self-defense programs.


Temple University Campus Safety Services received three reports of a man inappropriately touching a woman near Temple’s Main Campus in the last month, The Temple News reported. 

Natalie Collins, a freshman undeclared major, feels unsafe in the areas surrounding Temple’s campus after hearing about the incidents, she said. 

“You don’t always feel safe on that walk to get to campus every day,” Collins said. 

Given these incidents, students need to know how to defend themselves in case of an attack. 

Temple must inform their students about opportunities for learning about self-defense that Temple currently offers. While Temple’s programs are not the only solution to preventing sexual harassment, it is a step in the right directon. The university should frequently provide students with information about their programs online and host more self-defense workshops to educate students.

The Personal Defense-Women course, a self-defense course offered to female students through the College of Public Health, has certified Rape Aggression Defense instructors who teach students to utilize defensive tactics and risk awareness to reduce the potential for victimization, according to the Campus Safety Services website.

The other option is introductory self-defense workshops, which can be conducted upon request with a certified RAD instructor.

The Personal Defense-Women course teaches empowerment, awareness and overall education about sexual assault, said Leroy Wimberly, a Temple police officer who has taught the course for eight years. 

“The empowerment of the class strengthens their ability to understand and realize they’re survivors regardless,” Wimberly said.

If more students knew about the course and workshop, they would be able to take advantage of them, which could help them learn about self-defense and prepare for potential assault situations.

Temple offers the Personal Defense-Women course through the Department of Kinesiology, said Donna Gray, manager of risk reduction and advocacy services. 

The course is for women only because women are most frequently the victims of attacks, Gray added. Aside from the course, Temple also offers self-defense workshops that are open to all students regardless of gender.

Among undergraduate students, 26.4 percent of women experience sexual assault, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization.

Temple promotes the course and the workshop on its website. The university should be actively posting detailed information about what the course and workshop consist of, provide general information about self-defense on the Campus Safety Service website and encourage professors to speak about the programs with their students who may be fearful.

“For the actual course, that’s part of registration, so individuals would just sign up through Kinesiology,” Gray said. “In terms of workshops, those are by request, oftentimes, students will just reach out because they’re interested.”  

However, it is hard for students to reach out for these workshops if they do not know they exist or do not have enough information, like Collins.

Collins heard about Temple’s self-defense courses, but still does not know enough about them to enroll in the class, she said.

If Collins had more information about the class and the specifics of what is taught in it, she would enroll, she said.

“[Self-defense is] something I think is very important, especially for women, and self-defense is something that I’ve personally been learning for the past couple of years,” Collins said.

While Temple should be promoting more details about the course and workshop, they should also be providing more general information about self-defense, like safety strategies during a confrontation, for students who do not enroll in the class.

Many professors and teacher’s assistants have learned how scared their students are after hearing students discuss assault incidents, said Garamh Kim, a third year dance PhD candidate who also teaches undergraduate dance students.

“I was kind of worried,” Kim said. “What if something happens to my students?” 

Women aged 18-24 in college are three times more likely to experience sexual violence than the average woman, and 13 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault, according to RAINN, an anti-sexual violence organization.  

Temple must be promoting these self-defense classes and workshops, but more importantly, the university must be providing students with information regarding self-defense, like physical strategies, verbal strategies and how to be assertive. 

“It would just help me feel safer in terms of, if I were in a situation where I needed to protect myself, I would have more knowledge on how to do that, which would make me feel safer walking distances by myself, even during the daytime,” Collins said. 

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