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Situational awareness important for all

Jun 21, 2017 12:16PM ● Published by Keyra Kristoffersen

Laurie Snarr and Stacie Reeves discuss why situational awareness and self-defense are vital for everyone. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com
 
Being aware of your surroundings in any situation can be the difference between safety and victimhood. That’s why Laurie Snarr and Stacie Reeves started Well-Defended Women, so they could partner with personal-defense company, Damsel in Defense, in order to broaden the reach of personal-safety education.
 
Statistics show that it takes just seven seconds for somebody to become a victim or to be chosen to become a victim,” said Snarr. “What we decided to do was offer situational-awareness classes to help do that.”
 
Both Snarr and Reeves began working with Damsel in Defense, which specializes in non-lethal weapons, to help demonstrate at gun shows and events around the valley, but they wanted to be even more proactive about helping people, especially women, stay safe.
 
“We heard so many stories of young girls being attacked or raped or followed, children being abducted, and you just feel like there should be more that you can do, to help be more proactive and help people be more aware of their surroundings,” said Snarr.
 
After a lot of research, compiling statistics, evidence, tricks and tips along with attending various trainings from self-defense classes and police departments, the team put together a class made up of a presentation outlining ways people can make themselves less likely to be chosen as a victim. They are also trained with personal-safety weapons from Damsel in Defense.
 
Reeves got involved in Damsel in Defense after her daughter was held up at gunpoint in June 2016 by a couple on a crime spree for drug money throughout the Sandy and Cottonwood Heights area.
 
“The statistic that scared me the most was that most attacks are over in nine seconds. In nine seconds, the attacker has either overpowered you and has taken control or you have fought the attacker and taken control. But you only have nine seconds to decide which way that attack is going to go. And if you have never thought about what you are going to do, it’s going to take you those nine seconds just to think about what your options are.”
 
Luckily, her daughter did as the police advise in those situations — remained calm and got the robber out of her store as quickly as possible — but Reeves knows it could have been so much worse.
 
“It made me realize that we don’t teach our young women to be aware like we should. They’re busy on the phone, social media, taking pictures, rather than knowing who’s around them and what’s happening,” said Reeves.
 
Snarr and Reeves teach their situational-awareness class at the Sandy Library on the fourth Wednesday of every month, and it’s for all ages. The class will be expanding to other libraries every month as well. They also go to events and offer to host Empower Hours for groups of women in home and business settings, such as realtors, bus drivers and women in other occupations who might find themselves alone a lot with strangers and cannot carry concealed firearms. One class is called Banana Split Night where participants are taught how to stun-gun their banana in order to show the effects and familiarize themselves with the weapon.
 
“We do feel it’s important that they be educated in how to use it and not just have it,” said Reeves. “We’re about equipping, empowering and educating our community on having a self-protection plan and self-protection products. Most women who have been attacked said they did not even know that they were in danger until their attacker touched them.”
 
Along with expanding classes to eventually add a concealed carry for women and self-defense instruction, Snarr and Reeves want to take advantage of Safe Hearts, a program created by Damsel in Defense to help open a path of honest and clear communication about safety between parents and children.
 
“Just talk, open up communication with your children. No matter what age they are. Make it age appropriate, but start the conversation. The more aware your child is, the more protected they are. And not making your child aware of what is out there leaves your child very vulnerable,” Reeves said.
 
Studies show, they said, that if a parent has never talked to a child about safety dangers, the child is less likely to tell the parent when something inappropriate has occurred, believing that the parent won’t understand or believe them.
 
Safe Hearts is up for an award and offers an array of age-appropriate products and tips to help children and parents communicate, understand each other and protect themselves.
 
“It is a scary subject, and in the past it’s not a subject that people are comfortable talking about, but how can you be proactive when you don’t talk about it? So we’re trying to make it a little bit fun so it doesn’t seem like such a scary topic, but at the same time important enough to get it out there so that our communities are safer,” said Snarr.
 
For more information on upcoming Well-Defended Woman classes, visit www.calendar.slcolibrary.org/mastercalendar or contact Laurie Snarr at 385-439-9379. Information about personal self-defense tools can also be found at www.damselindefense.net.
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