Nearly 80 people stood barefoot in a wrestling mat-covered room Tuesday night, somberly waiting for the Calvary Family Martial Arts instructor’s speech addressing recent park attacks.
On Friday, a 68-year-old woman was assaulted at Monument Valley and touched in a sexual manner before the suspect ran away.
In the corner of the room, stood the woman who just 12 days prior had been beaten with a metal pipe in broad daylight at Bear Creek. She declined to be interviewed, videotaped or photographed, but stood in front of the room for a few brief moments to address the attendees.
“He hit me in the back of the head with an iron bar,” the woman began. “Then I turned around because I thought a tree fell on me. I turned around and looked at him and he struck again, so I put my arm up. I actually got angry, I said ‘Why are you hitting me?’ He didn’t say a word. He just looked at me like he was kind of crazy.”
She had a bandage on her nose, her face was deeply bruised and the scar of a long cut was slashed across her forehead. The woman fought back tears as she spoke about her injuries.
“I tripped and I fell backwards and rolled down a hill and he came after me,” she continued. “He hit me several times more, he crushed my scalp and my nose. Then he stopped, and I don’t know why.”
With introductions over, training could begin. The participants were split up into small groups. Instructors taught each small group one technique to escape an attacker, then the groups rotated.
Techniques being taught at #CalvaryFamily #MartialArts in hopes of more people being prepared for an attack. At least two women were attacked in #ColoradoSprings parks in the last few weeks. More to come at @csgazette pic.twitter.com/i1Lwciailm— Gazette.Liz.Henderson (@GazetteLiz) July 10, 2019
The free class was offered to anyone, regardless of age or athletic ability. Kyla Stone, 15, said that taking the course helped her feel more prepared.
“I’ve seen things on TV and other people have talked about situations where this could possibly happen,” Kyla said. “I feel like it could come from anywhere so it’s important to learn.”
“We talked a lot about some of the proactive things like being aware when you’re in a parking lot and stuff like that, but this is a different level of awareness and being prepared,” said Kyla’s mother, Rebecca Stone. “I think the key word is confidence. I wanted her to have confidence and as a mom do what I could to give her that.”
Isaac Costley, co-owner of the martial arts center, believes the best way to prevent more attacks is to focus on preparedness. He spoke about firefighters and police officers having plans when confronting situations.
“The reason this is so important is that people have to learn to be prepared but not paranoid,” Costley reiterated. “When we go out in the public, and somebody grabs us, we fail at defending ourselves because we don’t have a pre-attack plan. What we’re teaching in here is be that professional firefighter. Be that professional police officer, and have a pre-attack plan which would then make you prepared without being paranoid.”