Self-defense lessons teach women to spot, thwart attack

St. Johns County authorities join forces for W.A.V.E. training

By Jennifer Ready - Reporter, Erin Fisher

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. - Recent high-profile attacks on women have shocked the nation and sparked renewed interest in self-defense.

Last week, 35-year-old Wendy Martinez was stabbed to death while out for a jog in Washington, D.C.

One day earlier, Celia Barquin Arozamena, a collegiate golf champion and Iowa State University student, was stabbed to death on a golf course in Iowa.

And in July, 20-year-old University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts disappeared while out for a run. Her body was found one month later. 

Law enforcement agencies in St. Johns County are teaming up to teach women how to protect themselves if they are ever in danger.

The program is called W.A.V.E., which stands for Women Against Violent Encounters. It's a free two-day, women-only course being held at the Courtyard Marriott.

The class will be taught by instructors from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Augustine Police Department and the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.  

The two-day course will teach women how to recognize a threat and will show them simple self-defense moves, including punches and kicks. Women will have the opportunity to practice what they learn during the class.

RELATED: 4 mistakes women make when attacked

St. Johns County Deputy Sheriff and program instructor Shannon Borra said attackers often target women who aren’t paying attention.

“Always lock your doors, be cognizant of your surroundings and look around you,” Borra said. “Don’t be looking at your cellphone when you’re walking through parking lots."

Borra hopes women gain self-confidence and awareness by taking the class.

Information on free, two-day W.A.V.E Class:

Date: September 24-25

Place: Courtyard by Marriott St. Augustine Beach;

605 A1A Beach Blvd, St Augustine Beach, FL 32080

Time: 6 – 9 p.m.

What to expect: One-on-one training and practice with SJCSO, SAPD, and SABPD members.

To sign up, contact the Sheriff’s Office, the St. Augustine Beach Police Department or the St. Augustine Police Department.

W.A.V.E was first established in 1997 and focused on teaching women threat awareness combined with basic self-defense techniques to respond to potential threats.

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