Parents, teens together learn about sexual assault, how to stay safe

ST. GEORGE — Most topics are difficult to cover with teens, even more so the possibility of sexual assault, which is why a personal safety course is helping teens and parents learn together to protect and prepare for threatening situations and bond together in the process.

Student Brenda Jensen with instructor Tim Eicher in the gym portion of the personal safety course, St. George, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the Dove Center, St. George News
Student Shareene Cline with instructor Tim Eicher in the gym portion of the personal safety course, St. George, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the DOVE Center, St. George News

Tamra Carter, a St. George resident, is taking the course with her teenage daughter Makayla. Both mother and daughter said the class has helped them reinforce their boundaries and create a fighting mentality; that is, to make a personal commitment to protect oneself at all costs in the case of assault or rape.

“I wanted to prepare myself for the future,” Makayla Carter said. “The course has helped me (be) prepared emotionally and mentally, so if I ever got in a situation where I had to fight to protect myself, I know how.”

Tamra Carter is a survivor of workplace rape and sexual assault. She took the class in 2014 for healing, and is now taking it a second time to learn how to be a personal safety facilitator.

“I want to help other women know that sexual assault can happen to anyone,” Tamra Carter said. “I thought I was immune to it. Now I want to protect my children and other women from that.”

Taking the class as mother and daughter has its advantages. Makayla Carter said she’s more comfortable practicing self-defense with her mother there. And Tamra Carter appreciates that her daughter is learning things she was never taught about relationships.

“When we talked about signs of a potentially abusive partner, Makayla pointed out negative qualities she’s noticed in my previous dating relationships,” Tamra Carter said.

Mackayla Carter and Tamra Carter have taken the personal safety course together, St. George, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the Dove Center, St. George News
Mackayla Carter and Tamra Carter have taken the personal safety course together, St. George, Utah, undated | Photo courtesy of the DOVE Center, St. George News

Only about half the class time is spent on self-defense moves in the gym. A classroom portion explores social, emotional, mental and psychological patterns that encourage the prevalence of sexual assault in society, including why victims are often blamed for sexual assault, what abusers look for in targets and how to identify an abuser at the beginning of a relationship.

Overall, the personal safety course strives to empower its students.

How to enroll

This comprehensive course is open to women, men, and teens, 15 and older, who want to be safer in life.

Enrollment is now open for the fall personal safety course, which meets in the North Instructional Building of Dixie State University, 225 S. University Ave., St. George, every Wednesday night, 5:30-8:10 p.m., for 16 weeks starting Aug. 26.

The course costs $124 per person, or $104 each when enrolling with a family member. Course fees include class instruction, class materials, gym materials (crash pads, etc.), and two books: “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker and “Self-Protection for Women” by Tim Eicher.

For more information about the personal safety course, please visit the DOVE Center website or call 435-628-1204.

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1 Comment

  • beentheredonethat August 14, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    To avoid sexual assult. Stay out of Colorado City, scouting, the bishops house and Purgatory. Problem solved. You’re safe!

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