By Abby Reed
MIDLAND - Midland Police are rolling out a program aimed at helping local women protect themselves. They offer a free three week self defense class. The women meet twice a week for two hours and learn how to protect themselves from would-be attackers.
"If you're a victim, you have to be able to have a survival mentality to get away and survive the fight, the attack," Officer Debbie Barnes, with Midland Police, said.
Barnes is a 14-year veteran with the department. As an instructor of the class, she works to educate women on how to protect themselves both physically and mentally.
"They get put in that situation and when they finish, they're like 'hey, I can do this, it wasn't that difficult,' and they are more confident about their ability," Barnes said.
In this class, students are given the ability to fight off fake attackers, with moves and maneuvers that can be used by anyone.
"It doesn't matter how big you are or how strong, because I don't have a lot of strength, per se, it's pretty easy, and educational," Jennifer Neves, a student of the class, said.
Neves is a single mom and says protecting her kids was her primary motivation behind signing up for this class. She's also having a good time meeting new people.
"It is fun, even though you are learning something that can seriously save your life," Neves said.
While being able to stay alive in the face of danger is the ultimate goal, Neves and her classmates are learning protective skills they hope to never be forced to use.
"I've never known what to do if I was in that situation, but I'm glad I am learning now, this way, I'm my weapon," Neves said.