Empowerment Self-Defense with Juli Brown

Maya Liquigan, Managing Editor


Elgin Community College has teamed up with the Community Crisis Center (CCC) to recognize April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Multiple events were held, including an Empowerment Self-Defense Class. The class was held on April 20 in the Jobe Lounge, led by Juli Brown who is a certified Empowerment Self-Defense Instructor as well as a Sexual Assault Legal Advocate for the CCC.

There were about 25 participants in the class, some came prepared to engage in the physical activities dressed in gym wear. The CCC provided snacks and water as well as pamphlets that included multiple services that are offered for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors.

The class started with a presentation in which Brown spoke about self-defense and the various ways to escape a situation where one may be in danger. At the start of the presentation, Brown addressed the concerns of the audience members.

“You see all of these things happen,” Brown said. “You see these shows and you think about all this stuff. What if something did happen? You’re afraid that you just freeze, and you wouldn’t know what to do.”

She explained the four different types of reactions people may have: a fight reaction, a flight reaction, a freeze reaction or a fawn reaction. The presentation covered different aspects of self-defense but mostly consisted of actions that can be taken to prevent being attacked. The participants had chances to practice different exercises including how to say no and be assertive, while also given a chance to ask about specific scenarios. Brown engaged with the crowd through these exercises before moving on to the physical portion of the class.

“I don’t know how to fight,” said ECC student Leslie Garcia. “I learned how to fight and how to use our hands and the easiest spots to defend ourselves.”

Brown showed multiple different hits including the palm heel and the hammer fist. Along with these hits, she included the best target spots to aim for when being attacked. These spots include the eyes, nose, throat, groin, and knees. At the end of the session, participants had the opportunity to break a wood board using one of the moves they learned in class.

The lesson left the audience feeling confident and strong. Some stayed to ask questions or practice some more hits while others walked away feeling empowered. Along with the physical lessons they learned, students also learned the importance of preventing an attack.

“I learned how to protect myself,” ECC student Wendy Shepard said. “And that it’s not your fault.”

Shepard came to the class with her friend, who also learned important tactics from the class.

“The whole ‘no is a sentence’ was important,” Nayely Garcia said.

She reflected on one of the exercises that Brown had the crowd conduct, which was learning how to confidently say no. This is one of the tactics she suggests in preventing being attacked.

Brown has been teaching self-defense for about 13 years and teaches a range of ages starting from kids around eight years old to senior citizens. Through her teachings, she has noted that it is important to let people know that anyone can learn self-defense methods and there is no need to be scared.

In her position as Sexual Assault Legal Advocate at the CCC, Brown wanted to emphasize the importance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month

“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an opportunity for us to bring attention to the issue of sexual assault and the resources available,” Brown said. “The Community Crisis Center works to both provide services to survivors, and also to provide community education programming like tonight’s event to help prevent sexual assault and intimate partner violence.”

Brown explains the services for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors including a 24-hour hotline, legal advocacy, and prevention education. For sexual assault survivors, they also offer counseling and hospital advocacy. For domestic violence survivors, they also offer emergency shelters.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, remember you are not alone. The CCC offers a 24-hour hotline for anyone in need, contact them at (847) 697-2380.