Hinsdale police officer Michael Coughlin sent another group of young women out in the world armed with techniques to protect themselves, and advice on how to avoid having to use them.
Coughlin taught a dozen girls, ages 16 to 18, how to break a grip on their wrist, how to stomp on an attacker’s toes or instep, and how to punch an assailant with the heel of their hand in a safety and self-defense class Aug. 13 at the Hinsdale police station.
The girls practiced the techniques on Coughlin, Detective Kevin Susmarski and Community Service Officer Kyle Paul.
“You practice all these things, so they become second nature,” Coughlin said.
Shirlee Scott, 18, of Hinsdale, thinks she would be able to recall some of the self-defense moves if she were in danger.
“That would be my first instinct because I learned this,” Scott said.
Coughlin also reminded the girls to yell specific words loudly, such as “Call 911” or “Fire.”
People within earshot are more likely to react to those words, than to general calls for help,” Scott said.
Anna Konstant, 18, of Hinsdale, learned “to always be aware of your surroundings.”
People who go running with their headphones on are more likely to be surprised by an offender, Konstant said. But being alert and prepared, “that will help prevent you being attacked,” she said.
How to most effectively punch and kick is secondary, Coughlin said.
“I don’t want them to leave thinking, ‘I’m the Karate Kid,’” instead of remembering common sense rules to stay safe, such as,trust your instincts, don’t go out alone, don’t accept a ride from an acquaintance if you are alone, and head to a public place if you feel frightened.