CSUF students try their hand at self-defense with Sharon Quirk-Silva

In Campus News, News
(Gabe Gandara / Daily Titan)

Cal State Fullerton senior psychology major, Jessica Briscoe, knows how terrifying it is to feel defenseless.

Briscoe, was harassed by an old coworker by phone. She reported it to the police twice, but it didn’t stop until she changed her phone number.

She was frightened by the situation but after hearing about a self-defense class held by ASI Lobby Corps, she decided to go to combat her fear.

As she jabbed and kneed the protective pads in the Titan Student Union Saturday afternoon, Briscoe was hoping to gain more than a new skill.

“Just confidence, that if I’m alone, I’m going to be okay,” Briscoe said. “That I could defend myself if I needed to.”

Over a dozen students participated in the self-defense training event, which was hosted by California’s 65th District State Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva.

“No!” chants could be heard as the sound of punches landing on pads echoed in rhythm.

This is the third workshop Quirk-Silva has coordinated in the last year and the second one on campus. She hosted the first event in July 2017 where a total of 45 women were taught how to protect themselves.

“There used to be a lot of these available (in the) community, but we haven’t seen them around too much and yet the issue still hasn’t changed,” Quirk-Silva said.

The training sessions have taught the participants how to jab, knee and scare off potential dangers. Quirk-Silva said with recent headlines about sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, this is was timely workshop. She has previously taken self-defense classes herself and taken her daughters along when they were teenagers.

Sabrina Lobdell, a senior marketing major, tagged along with Briscoe for support, but also hoped to improve her situational awareness. Lobdell said she had completed two self-defense classes before, with the ever-present risk of being assaulted on a college campus solidifying how important it is to keep attending them.

“It has been scary seeing all the texts we got last semester about the people on campus,” Lobdell said.

In 2014, Jose Alfredo Gradilla-Cuevas was arrested under suspicion of seven counts of sexual battery on campus. Gradilla-Cuevas was reported for grabbing or slapping women’s butts around CSUF before running to his car and driving away. The Fullerton Police Department caught him after five months of investigating.

With incidents like this and many others around campus, Quirk-Silva said it’s as important as ever to bring these events and discussions to school campuses.

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