• The Official Website of the Exponent, Wisconsin's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper May 17, 2013

App provides woman’s self-defense advice

Submitted photo.

Cell phone app demonstrates basic self-defense techniques for all women.

Sara Newquist, Business/Advertising

ne in four college females will be raped or be the victim of an attempted rape. Third-Degree black belt Helen Anzalone Gordon believes that this statistic is on the rise.

Gordon is the creator of an instructional cell phone application that teaches viewers simple and effective martial arts moves which she believes will help instruct individuals on how to react in the event of a threatening situation.

Gordon was inspired to create the YOU CAN FIGHT™ app after hearing the many stories on the news about college-aged girls being attacked or raped.

In response to the attack that occurred near Bridgeway Commons earlier this semester, Gordon said that the girl should not have been running alone at night.

“She did not bring it [the attack] on herself in any way, because it is never, ever the victims fault, but there are things you can do as a woman to ensure that you will never be a victim,” Gordon said.

Gordon recommends that if you do jog at night, always bring a buddy, and if you are using ear buds, only have them in one ear so you can hear if anyone is behind you.

“It happens way too much and a lot of guys are getting away with it. It [YOU CAN FIGHT™] breaks down four of the most common attacks,” Gordon said. “I encourage practicing the app whether you take a class or just use the app so that those moves become second nature.”

The techniques that Gordon outlines consist of three categories: the eyes, the throat and the groin. Gouge the eyes, punch the throat and kick or knee the groin.

In addition to her app, Gordon maintains five tips to help women stay safe on campus: Never accept drinks from a stranger, never walk alone on campus at night, never invite someone you just met to your dorm room, never look down or text while passing or walking next to someone and lastly, never sit in your car to text or make a call.

Scott Marquardt, Chief of Police at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, believes that the app is a good tool to utilize.

“Any time people can improve on the issues of safety, I think it’s a great opportunity to use something like that [YOU CAN FIGHT™],” Marquardt said. “The thing I like to talk about is making choices that don’t put you in the circumstances where you need to use the techniques.”

Marquardt encourages students to use the Safe Walk program on campus in addition to YOU CAN FIGHT™.

Tim Swenson, physical education instructor at UW-Platteville, teaches a self-defense course on campus. He said that students should be comfortable with the route they take home. Students should also walk in a group if possible, and if a student is unable to walk in a group, it is important to always let someone know where you will be going and when you plan to be back.

“A hesitancy I have for an app like this is that she [Gordon] is someone who has many, many years of experience as a black belt. For someone to learn it from watching a video and not have a lot of experience may be difficult,” Swenson said. “Actually taking a class and practicing with someone who is skilled along with having that [YOU CAN FIGHT™] is a good supplement to what learning can be but it shouldn’t be the only way that someone learns [self defense].”

Gordon plans on creating a second version of the app in which multiple attackers are depicted along with more advanced defense techniques.

Students can follow Gordon on Twitter @dojochik to learn five safety tips a day.

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