Milwaukee is … an adjustment. My first weekend on campus, my roommates and I took a bus to a restaurant. Well, we tried to take a bus to a restaurant. We ended up taking a bus to a sketchy neighborhood on the north side. I vaguely remember seeing this part of Milwaukee on the news about a week ago for a shooting.
I remained relatively calm until a car cruised past us with its windows down. The music inside was pumping and a passenger “cat-called” to us – a comment I choose to forget.
My roommates and I managed to escape the situation not with our sheer wits, but with my iPhone (thank God for the free compass app) and my roommate’s boyfriend, who coached us over the phone.
I’m sure you could tell last week was Sexual Violence Awareness Week from all of the teal ribbons decorating campus. Well, being the eager freshman that I am and with the memory of this recent experience in my mind, I headed to the self-defense class offered by Department of Public Safety.
Time for a confession: I was the only one to show up (besides a photographer for the Tribune). Although incredibly awkward, I learned a few valuable lessons. Not just moves (although my arm jab could put even officer Joe Secanky to shame), but this little thing called common sense. I guess I never had to learn street smarts growing up in a town known as “the Hamptons of the Midwest.”
So here are a few tips for all of you out there who were too afraid to show up to the self-defense class (I know you are out there!):
1) Know the bus route you need to take ahead of time. You probably already knew this — my friends and I did not.
2) If you end up in an area you do not feel safe in, go to the nearest business or well-lit area. Self-explanatory. Go where there are witnesses.
3) If a person is walking toward you and your gut sends you a bad vibe, cross the street to the other side. Always trust your instincts. They are there for a reason.
4) If a person approaches you and demands your belongings, surrender them. But don’t hand them to the person, throw them on the ground to the side. This will allow you a few seconds to escape.
The next self-defense class will be on Oct. 22 at 5:00 p.m. in the AMU. This free session will delve into all of the ninja moves I learned and will include free rape whistle. Did I mention the class is free?
Officer Joe and I hope to see you there. Otherwise, it’s just going to be another awkward hour of one-on-one elbow punches and groin kicks.
-Kelly Meyerhofer, Freshman, College of Communication