OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - One in five women is assaulted during her college career. That's according to statistics from The University of Mississippi. That research also found that women ages 16 to 24 experience assault at four times the rate of all women.
So, what can we as women, do to stay safe? One option: learn to defend yourself.
"We're just gonna teach people a couple chokes, a couple throws, how to get out of dangerous situations," said instructor Monica Medina.
Medina doesn't just look tough. She's the number one ranked female fighter in the state of Mississippi.
She got her start in a self-defense class. Now Medina teaches women to defend themselves and how to fight back. She does it using real techniques, real punches, real falls, and real-world scenarios.
"Somebody grabs you from behind, a throw, a judo throw. Using our hips to throw them down, maybe a little arm bar. If somebody grabs your waist, use your legs, and pull them down breaking the knee. We're not actually going to break it, but there's a way to do it. If somebody's on top of you trying to punch you, a way to get on top of them," Monica said while demonstrating the moves.
Valerie Shearer has been attending classes at Alan Beecher MMA in Ocean Springs for seven months. She said she comes for the workout and stress relief.
"Some people, if they don't know what to do, they have a tendency to panic," Valerie said. "Just in case I'm ever in a situation, to know how to get out of it."
Kimberly Austin teamed up with Valerie for class on this day. The two worked together, slinging each other around, pulling hair. It's part of Medina's training. So that if they're ever in a dangerous situation, they know what to do.
"You need an extra advantage if you're a woman or if you're small like me," Kimberly said.
Coach Medina said there are six weak points to strike first: eyes, nose, throat, ears, chest, and groin. She said you need to be ready to react.
"Don't walk around looking down. Look up. Be confident. Be aware of your surroundings. Know how to back up and look tough," Monica added.
There are several self-defense classes across the coast, including Monica's class in Ocean Springs. Click here for more information on Alan Beecher MMA.