'Safe Dating' teaches protective techniques

Jul 3, 2013

Area teens and pre-teens, as well as their parents and friends, are invited to attend a four-hour special self-defense workshop, “Safe Dating 101,” scheduled for Saturday, July 13 at Mount Shasta City Park, main lodge.

Preparing for the Safe Dating Workshop

Elina Saryon, 15, of Mount Shasta practices a self-defense move against MSMAP instructor Chuck Buhs. Also pictured are Brynn Witherell, 12, and Riley Witherell, 13.
Safe Dating 101: Self-Defense for Teens & Pre-Teens (and their parents)


 What’s it all about?

Participants will learn assertiveness, awareness, assessment, confidence, action and safety, according to Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program head instructor Chuck Buhs.

The workshop is a partnership between the Siskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis Center, the Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District, and the Mount Shasta Martial Arts Program and will be held from 11am to 3pm.

The cost is a suggested donation of $20, with $5 added when participants are accompanied by an adult.

“Date rape is a concern among teens,” said 15-year-old Elina Saryon of Mount Shasta. “I expect to learn a few things on what to do to prevent and stop an attack.”

“Although this workshop is primarily for teen and pre-teen girls, their mothers, fathers and friends of either gender are welcome to come in and learn a few things about self-defense within a dating context,” said Buhs. “Our goal is to empower young women and educate young men so that they understand a few options using both words and actions before things get out of hand.”

“This workshop will provide teens with valuable skills which would enable them to deal with difficult and challenging situations if they ever arose,” said Elina’s mother, Ailita. ”Their confidence will also increase along with their ability to cope. I believe this opportunity to be vital for teens, girls and boys.”

“The Recreation District is pleased to partner with MSMAP to bring this unique self-defense, workshop to our community, and we’re encouraging our local, young women to take advantage of this opportunity by participating in the July workshop at the City Park,” said Mount Shasta Recreation and Parks District Administrator Mike Rodriguez.


 What are the topics?

Buhs said he’ll present a mix of activities and discussion topics including instruction on select physical techniques and how to make them work.

“It’s not all about physical tools. It’s also about communicating effectively both verbally and non-verbally using body language, eye contact, and naming the offensive behavior with expectations,” Buhs said. .“Other powerful tools for safety include avoidance, simply walking away, de-escalation techniques, and immediate verbal confrontation.”

Buhs also said never to discount the value of intuition or “gut feelings”

“Intuition is something that we ignore all too often because we second guess our better judgement due to embarrassment or whatever. We end up seeing what we want to see instead of what’s really happening. Letting things slide gets us into more trouble.”


 It’s not the bushes or alleys...

According to a study published by the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker (Source: “2000 Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement,” Who are the victims? Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network - RAINN)

“Despite a common myth, attacks are not made by a complete stranger jumping out of the bushes or in dark alley,” said SDV&CC Deputy Director Carla Charraga. “The vast majority of attacks are committed by acquaintances, friends, family members or intimate partners and boyfriends. Many times, the incidents take place in a location where the person felt safe prior to the attack.”

Buhs said his intent is to make attendees as comfortable as possible at the workshop for what can be a very uncomfortable topic.

“It’s important for young people to understand that they have a variety of choices in response to different situations and that they don’t need to give in when pressured or threatened to do something they really don’t want to do. Sometimes all it takes is a little confidence and education to be safe and stay safe.”

Charraga said while it’s important to learn about safety “when a crime such as rape or sexual assault occurs, the impetus should not fall on what the victim did or did not do, but on the fact that the perpetrator committed a crime and took advantage of someone’s trust and vulnerability.”

“It is important to recognize that as a society, we must talk about consent and teach young people what constitutes consent,” said Charraga. “Having sex with someone while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not consensual sex according to the California penal code.”

“The bottom line is that no answer, or an answer given when drunk, is not a ‘yes,’” added Buhs.


 More Information

About the Siskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis Center
The SDV&CC is a community based, private, non-profit organization committed to helping the survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The SDV&CC is located at 118 Ranch Lane in Yreka, CA 96097. Their office hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday thru Friday (530.842.6629).
Learn more: Siskiyou Domestic Violence & Crisis Center website

For FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL HELP, call the SDV&CC Hotline: 1-877-842-4068.

A little about MSMAP
MSMAP, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization offers a variety of dynamic, invigorating, and modern martial arts training for children, teens, and adults six days each week. More information can be found on their website at www.MtShastaMA.org, email ( ), phone ( 530.859.2024 ), and on Facebook (MSMAP Safe Dating Workshop on Facebook).