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Sunday, April 21
The Indiana Daily Student

Event creates awareness of abuse

Fitness Against Violence encourages confidence, teaches self-defense

"The atmosphere was contagious. It was a well-conceived program that I would definitely attend again," said senior Chris Gobles of the second annual Fitness Against Violence.\nGobles was one of the many people who attended and enjoyed Friday's event, hosted by the Student Recreational Sports Center and Middle Way House women's shelter.\nFitness Against Violence was established to honor the memories of missing IU student Jill Behrman and deceased student Jennifer Meece -- a tradition that Carol Kennedy, program director of fitness and wellness at the SRSC, hopes will continue. She thinks it is important to keep awareness of domestic violence and assault on the community's forefront so people can handle it better when they encounter it.\nSgt. Leslie Slone of the IU Police Department said she also believes in the significance of being knowledgeable on the subjects. She gave helpful tips and pointers on how to handle an attack in a one-hour demonstration on Rape Aggression Defense. \n"Teaching self-defense to women is important because I believe it is better to know a thing and not need it than to need it and not know it," Slone said.\nThe IUPD offers another seminar that goes more in-depth with the options women have available in an attack. Slone places special emphasis on the importance of options -- the more options women have, the more confident they are. She said she believes this sense of empowerment successfully carries over into their lives and careers. \nJill Nielsen, Middle Way's funding coordinator, encourages people to explore their options by getting involved. She suggests using local resources to find out about programs and shelters where students can help out, then participate or volunteer. \nKathy Bayless, director of Recreational Sports, thinks it's necessary for everyone to become involved because "…we're not just standing against violence, but we're also standing for civility, human dignity, and outreach to others."\nCivility is particularly crucial right now because everyone is trying to figure out how to deal with violence on a more national level, Bayless said.\n"How we feel about domestic violence is how everyone is feeling about the World Trade Center," she said. \nBayless is certain that positive things do come out of tragedies that occur because of some sort of violence. She summed up her thoughts on Fitness Against Violence with a quote from Helen Keller.\n"The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and God-like. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

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