The women of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment learned self-defense techniques that will help protect them physically, while giving them the confidence they need to empower themselves to fight back.

During a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program training lesson April 13 at the Warrior Way Physical Fitness Center, female soldiers and civilians learned about changes to Army SHARP, as well as the different reporting options in a discussion-style lesson. Participants were encouraged to ask questions, speak up and share information.

Capt. Ashley Zeitvogel, Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for Field Artillery Squadron, 3rd Cav. Regt., explained the different reporting options for sexual harassment and sexual assault, while simultaneously uncovering how much information women already knew about reporting. She added that it is not enough for the victim to speak. She explained how bystanders can also intervene and prevent sexual harassment and sexual assault.

“I hope they’ve gained some confidence to stand up in awkward situations and come together as a cohort of women standing up for each other,” Zeitvogel said.

After the SHARP lesson, McCarthy’s Taekwondo Self Defense instructors demonstrated self-defense techniques to help fight off an attacker of any kind.

Lascelles McCarthy II, grandmaster and 8th degree black belt, led the group as they learned how to use an attacker’s body weight against him.

“You can defend yourself,” McCarthy said. “I don’t care if he’s 6ft and you’re 5ft, you can still defend yourself.”

While the little females seemed skeptical, within minutes they could see for themselves how simple things they do can stop an attack in its tracks.

“This course taught me that if an attacker comes my way, I have to know how to defend myself and not think I can’t do it because I think I’m weak,” Spc said. Laetitia Morisset spoke about training.

McCarthy showed the group that even the most threatening attacks can be thwarted by knowing how to respond. He and Pamela Grant, a master instructor from McCarthy’s Taekwondo Self Defense, demonstrated 10 different attacks an attacker could use against a person, along with how to counter the attack. Some of the attacks included choke, weapon, head lock, bear hug and more.

“I liked the skill where we block a punch,” Spc said. Tattiana Martin shared. “I think it’s really important to have different ways of defending yourself, and that technique was fun to practice.”

sergeant. 1st Class Ashlee Ibarra, the regimental chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense NCO who also helps run the Sisters-in-Arms program, said she organized the event as a way to help give soldiers the confidence to defend themselves.

“There is crime everywhere. We just want to prepare the soldiers in case they find themselves in a dangerous situation. These techniques can be used if you are walking down the street and someone tries to grab your purse or someone attacks you in an alley,” she added. “It’s just an introduction, but whatever we can provide to give them confidence is what we will do.”

Ibarra said the same class will be given to male soldiers when the unit returns from the National Training Center. SPC. Catyna Jones-Gibbs hopes they will also have a combined men’s and women’s class coming up.

“A lot of women work with men, and I’ve heard some of them say they think they’re weaker than their male colleagues,” Jones-Gibbs said. “These classes help us build our confidence as women and teach us that we can fight back. I look forward to more classes like these where men can come and train with us so we can show them that we are as strong as they are.