University of Iowa Student Self-Defense Class Booked Up

By Mark Geary, Reporter

IOWA CITY -- University of Iowa Police have taught a rape self-defense class for the past fourteen years.

Now, a series of assaults and attacks in Iowa City have sparked a new interest in that course.

This is the first time the police department has ever had to turn students away from its self defense course. The department just can't handle the demand.

Preparing for the unexpected takes a lot of practice.

"I'm from a small town, so this isn't anything I've ever had to worry about," student Shayla Fawcett said.

A string of more thirty assaults in Iowa City has students worrying about more than their homework assignments.

"It's something that's always in the back of my mind," student Heather Brunner said.

"It seems like walking down any street you could be jumped," Fawcett said.

Police stress the importance of having a plan to fight off an attacker. It's a lesson that could save a student's life.

"You really have to depend on what you have with you -- which is your hands, your feet and your brain," Associate Public Safety Director David Visin said.

Brunner understands. She said, "Police officers can't be everywhere at once ... So it's what can you do to help the situation."

Officers teach the women how to gain control, how to shout and how fight back.

Students will probably forget many of the concepts they learn in their college classes. But, they promise to keep their self-defense skills sharp.

The final exam for this class could be given at any time -- even years after this lesson.

Police tell students to stay alert at all times -- especially at night. They recommend pulling out those headphones and hanging up those cell phones.
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