IUS Police Department hosts women’s self-defense class

IUPD Patrol Officer Monica Burnell-Wise leads free self-defense class on campus


Aubryn Crotchett

Monica Burnell-Wise leads off exercises to get students warmed up for the physical portion of the women’s self-defense class.

Aubryn Crotchett, Staff Reporter

Students and faculty practiced their heel palm strikes and elbow strikes at a Women’s Self Defense Class on Thursday, September 26. Patrol Officer Monica Burnell-Wise led the event, held in University Center North.

Students and staff filled UC 127 as Burnell-Wise discussed statistics, awareness and confrontation. After an informative opening presentation, the group practiced self-defense tactics one-on-one with Burnell-Wise.

In her 31 years of experience as an IUS police officer, Burnell-Wise has led several women’s self defense classes. Burnell-Wise is passionate about the class and said self-defense knowledge is critical.

“The quicker you act, the higher your chances are of survival,” Burnell-Wise said.

Natalie Sharpker, freshman business major, attended the self-defense class for the first time after seeing a flyer for the event on campus.
“I figured it would be a great learning experience,” Sharpker said.

Vulnerability and Awareness

Burnell-Wise delivered a presentation that explained how to be less vulnerable in several situations. She said it is important to have upright posture, hold one’s head high and make direct eye contact with people.

“Crime happens when there is a vulnerability,” Burnell-Wise said. “Most attacks happen when you’re caught off guard.”

She emphasized the concept of “intuition” and trusting one’s instincts. Burnell-Wise also stressed the importance of situational awareness, adding it is best to stay off of the phone when walking alone.

Haley Robinson, freshman education major, attended the class and said she learned valuable information.

“I think it is important for women to know self-defense because if they ever get into a dangerous situation, they know how to handle themselves if no one is around to help,” Robinson said.

Staying Safe

Burnell-Wise wrapped up the informative portion of the class with safety tips: stay in well-lit public areas, carry protective measures like pepper spray, and never hesitate to call the police.

In the event that one has to confront an attacker, Burnell-Wise said they should avoid common mistakes like not having an escape plan or believing nothing bad will happen. It is important to know oneself and one’s environment during any potentially vulnerable situation.

“The quicker you act, the higher your chances are of survival,” she said. “Will beats skill.”