CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Members of the West Virginia National Guard are learning how to protect themselves if they feel threatened.
The Guard’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team hosted a self-defense training event Wednesday at the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston. Members learned how to guard themselves by using several techniques.
The event was part of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Cpt. Holli Nelson, state public affairs officer for the WV National Guard, said members were given the opportunity to practice defending themselves.
“Just being aware of your surroundings and how to protect yourself if somebody does come up to you, try to steal your purse, try to take your wallet, something like that,” she said.
The training, Nelson said, is particularly important during this time. She said the nationwide #MeToo movement has encouraged victims to report acts of sexual assault.
“It’s just important to continue to have that conversation. It’s been in the national media recently and we want people to know that there are people who are here on a team who are available to assist them. It’s okay if you’ve been a victim of a sexual assault or a sexual harassment to come forward,” she said.
Nelson said there have been reports of sexual assault in the military, which is why they have a team that works to prevent those incidents.
Some members, including Nelson, have not had a self-defense lesson for years.
“We may learn those things in basic training, but for people like me, that was a long time ago, so it’s good to have a refresher,” she said.