Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic recently hosted a hands-on self-defense training workshop.
Instructors from the University of South Carolina Police Department (USCPD) provided the training to 30 NIWC Atlantic employees in Charleston and discussed personal safety techniques that can be used to fend off assailants without weapons.
“Training like this promotes resiliency in the workforce,” said Karen Abernathy, NIWC Atlantic Federal Women’s Special Program Team (SPT) chair. “It was so valuable.”
Abernathy, an integrated product support manager at NIWC Atlantic, organized the event after an employee attending a Federal Women’s SPT leadership panel discussion expressed her concern that her lack of confidence about traveling alone caused reluctance to volunteer for opportunities at work.
“She didn’t want to come out and say, ‘I’m afraid to travel by myself,’ so she would decline travel opportunities and as a result, didn’t feel like a team player,” said Abernathy. “Training that reaffirms everyone’s value and reminds us that we have a right to be safe in our own homes, our places of business and wherever we travel can make all the difference. It builds a more empowered workforce.”
Participants learned techniques for breaking out of wrist grabs, attacking vulnerable body parts and using their voices to assert dominance.
“I loved practicing the moves and seeing that they actually worked,” said Jessica Kesler, junior financial audit analyst. “I showed my 14-year-old daughter some of the moves.”
Contracting officer Sherelle Lockhart said USCPD instructors created a safe space for participants to talk about their experiences with assault and unsafe environments.
“The instructors provided a fun, safe environment without losing the seriousness of the topic,” said Lockhart. “It’s important for women to know how to defend themselves against predators, and I feel more confident doing so having attended the workshop.”
Abernathy was impressed with the caring attitudes of the instructors.
“The off-duty USC police officers gave up their free time to do this, to empower us to protect ourselves,” she said. “I could tell they really cared and that they want us to go out into the world and not be a victim.”
NIWC Atlantic provides systems engineering and acquisition to deliver information warfare capabilities to the naval, joint and national warfighter through the acquisition, development, integration, production, test, deployment, and sustainment of interoperable command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, cyber and information technology capabilities.