Residence hall hosts self-defense class

Nicole Ziege

Smiling residents sat in a circle in the lobby of Bates-Runner Hall on April 6, observing instructors display various self-defense moves. 

One by one, residents stood up and participated with instructors Munfordsville junior Thomas Stasel and Louisville sophomore Crystal Hassler in trying out moves such as how to dodge a punch, how to topple an attacker to the ground and how to grab an attacker by the wrist. 

“Take him down!” several residents shouted from the sidelines, laughing. “Twist his wrist! Get wrecked!”

It was the first self-defense class hosted at Bates-Runner Hall. The event was called “Fight Back!” and it was part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Thomas Stasel, the main instructor during the event, is a resident assistant at Bates-Runner Hall and has a black belt in taekwondo. He said his martial arts training informed his decision to put on the event.

“It’s a generally useful thing to know, considering it’s a college campus,” Stasel said.

Stasel said college campuses get kind of a bad reputation. This is because one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In addition, college women between the ages of 18 and 24 are three times more likely to be at risk of sexual assault and are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed on college campuses, according to the National Sexual Assault Hotline website.

“It’s good to be prepared,” Stasel said.

Stasel said he kept his expectations low with how many residents would attend the class. He said he expected five or six residents to attend, and about 15 residents attended the event.

Sophomore Christy Lester, of Jeffersonville, Indiana, said hearing about the event piqued her interest.

“I was curious because I wanted to know which self-defense moves they would use,” Lester said.

Liz Manning, WKU sophomore and accounting major of Louisville, was a resident at Bates-Runner Hall and said she attended the event because she was concerned for her well-being.

“I found this event really beneficial,” Manning said.

Stasel said the class might have been better for a freshman residence hall, but he worked with what he had. Despite this, he said he thought the class was successful overall.

“I got a few people to learn some stuff, at least,” Stasel said.

 Reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6288 and [email protected]