STUTTGART, Germany – Concerning threats to individual safety and security, anyone can be a victim. But the Family Readiness Office of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa is trying to help even those odds by offering Marine spouses a rape prevention and self-defense class at MARFOREUR headquarters last week.
Along with Marine Corps Martial Arts Program techniques, that have been modified specifically for the course, the class emphasized situational awareness, planning ahead, and minimizing risk in real-world situations, such as in a parking lot or leaving a hotel alone.
“Women can’t fight like men and Marines can teach MCMAP all day but that doesn’t mean we will be able to execute it and remember it in [scary] situations,” said Katherine L. Nelson, family readiness officer, MARFOREUR and MARFORAF, who also took the class.
“Every woman should know a few basic things to help themselves be more aware when they are alone,” said Nelson. “We find ourselves leaving the post exchange, commissary or school functions alone a lot. We are in a foreign country; things can happen to anyone,” added the Marshall, Texas, native.
The course was instructed by Master Sgt. James A. Hall, the intelligence chief for MARFOREUR, and certified rape-prevention instructor through Talon Self Defense Systems, Denver, Colo. The Dallas, Texas, native has practiced martial arts since he was six-years-old, has been a martial-arts instructor since the age of 15, and, along with a black belt in MCMAP, holds black belts in the disciplines of Ninjutsu, Koppojutsu, and Kenpo.
“His passion and knowledge for martial arts is phenomenal,” said Cpl. Christopher A. Terrell, who assisted teaching the course and is the assistant family readiness officer, MARFOREUR and MARFORAF.
“We wanted to emphasize how real-world it is,” said Terrell. “When we gave the different scenarios, the students were surprised that it was situations that really happened, not just made-up training scenarios.”
The class took the students through real, documented scenarios that dealt with assault, rape and abuse. Along with reminders that minimize risk, like planning ahead when parking or leaving somewhere alone, the students were taught various MCMAP techniques that were most relevant to females, like moves that were effective against weight-and-strength differences.
“[The spouses] realized that these threats really exist and I noticed the point where they felt really adamant about what was being taught because they never thought about some of these things,” added the Fitzgerald, Ga., native.
The MARFOREUR FRO hopes to be able to spread the training and knowledge on to all services’ spouses and family members in the future.
“Before the ladies left, we already talked about doing a second class and getting the word out,” said Nelson.
For more information regarding any possible future rape prevention and self-defense classes, please contact the Marine Forces Europe Family Readiness Office email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I feel everyone should take the opportunity to get to a class,” said Terrell. “You can never have too much training in this, whether you’re in a uniform or not.”