As part of an effort to arm women in Malibu with skills to defend themselves, a Malibu High School parent group will offer self defense classes on campus next week.
The first “Don’t Be A Victim! Safety and Self-defense Training” is set for 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 25 in the old gym at Malibu High School. Two other classes are scheduled for Feb. 15 and April 19.
The class, which is open to all women in Malibu, is the brainchild of Mindy Peterson, a MHS parent and the public relations coordinator for the school's Parent Teacher Student Association.
"How do we empower our young women?" Peterson said of her idea that came in the wake of the kidnapping and carjacking of a 17-year-old girl on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu in June. Due to the actions of two Good Samaritans, the girl was rescued and the kidnapper was taken into custody.
While the kidnapping may have been unique Malibu, Peterson said she felt it was a wake-up call to arm the women of Malibu with self defense skills.
"Girls and women are not taught you need to use your voice, your body. You need to use your body language and keep people out of your space and show you are strong and fight back," Peterson said.
Joey and Ginger Escobar of Malibu Martial Arts opted to join in and volunteered their time and skills to teach the classes.
All three began a pilot program over the summer, which was attended by a dozen students and parents at the Escobar's studio.
"All the girls and moms who attended thought it was an amazing experience," Peterson said.
She hopes that all MHS students take the class while at the high school.
"They need to be aware ... [living in Malibu] is very much like living in a bubble. People don’t really think about how they are walking or holding their purse," Peterson said.
The classes have the blessing of the Santa Moncia-Malibu Unified School District and MHS Principal Jerry Block.
"It really falls in line with our mission as a high school to teach students to be self advocates, to be able to take care of themselves. When they leave MHS they are young adults going out on their own," Block said.
Waivers are required for 11th and 12th grade girls attending without an adult, and are available in the front office. Students in grades 9 and 10 need to attend with a mother or guardian.
The classes will all cover the same material and a reservation is required by emailing email@example.com.