The Hilliard division of police in June will offer women the chance to learn how to defend themselves.

The Hilliard division of police in June will offer women the chance to learn how to defend themselves.

Women ages 18 and older may sign up for a self-defense class planned at City Hall. Girls ages 16 and 17 may participate if accompanied by a parent.

Officer Suzanne Muraco said only women will be allowed in the room, with the exception of male instructors.

"We have a tendency to talk about pretty intimate things," she said.

Teaching the class will be officers Muraco, Mark Proud, Marc Blevins, Doug Lightfoot and Hyda Sloan.

Muraco said the first part of the class will focus on prevention -- teaching women to be more aware of their surroundings.

"If you do find yourself being attacked, we teach you to prepare yourself mentally and physically to survive," she said.

Women will learn elbow strikes, knee strikes, eye gouges, kicks to the groin and other attacks.

"We teach you how to use your body as a defense weapon," she said. The course also will discuss weapons such as pepper spray.

Muraco said the class was first offered to female city employees as a test.

Letty Schamp, a transportation engineer for the city, was one of those who took the class.

"I can't believe I'm the age I am and I've never done a class like this before," Schamp said. "You think generally if a woman were to be attacked by a man, that since he's stronger, heavier ... that he would just overtake a woman, but that's not the case."

She said the class was "fabulous" and she recommends it to everyone.

"I feel more aware," she said. "I feel like I might do the right thing in different situations. I would strongly encourage anyone to attend it. I learned so much."

Candy Thomas, a zoning enforcement officer for the city, also attended and was impressed.

"A couple of months earlier, I took a six-week course from an outside source and I still learned new information and techniques from the class the Hilliard officers taught," Thomas said. "It gave me the self-confidence I needed if I was in danger or someone was trying to harm me. I feel that I would know how to fight back and get away."

Muraco said, "We ask for a $25 refundable deposit that you get back when you take both classes.

She said they've learned from other agencies that have similar courses that if no payment is required, some people will sign up but won't attend. People on waiting lists then can't get in and the class isn't full.

"People will hold their date if there is a deposit," she said

The class will be offered at three different times during the year. Each class will have two four-hour sessions.

The first class will be June 9, from noon to 4 p.m., and June 10 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The second class will be Sept. 29, from noon until 4 p.m. and Sept. 30 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The last class will be Nov. 3 from noon until 4 p.m. and Nov. 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

To sign up, contact Muraco at (614) 334-2494.

calexis@thisweeknews.com