You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Air Force base adds defense training in fight against sexual assault

Ninety airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and 10 Wright State University employees are taking sexual assault self-defense training this week from a world-renowned martial arts company.

Col. Cassie Barlow, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing at Wright-Patterson, said the training is a response to the Air Force Chief of Staff’s call in December to re-emphasize the organization’s culture of respect and dignity.

The 100 trainees are working this week at Wright State with Rener Gracie and Eve Torres of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Barlow said those trainees will then be certified for a two-year period to train their colleagues, spreading the skills throughout the organizations.

“It’s much more than just a self-defense program,” Barlow said. “There’s the physical side of it, but also a mental and psychological side. … It hits all the things in the research like resiliency, assertiveness, self-confidence and situational awareness.”

America’s military has been under pressure in the past year to improve its handling of sexual assault issues. The same week that Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh made that call for respect and dignity, President Obama told military leaders they had one year to “step up their game exponentially” in both prevention of and response to sexual assault cases. Just last week, a Senate bill that would have turned military sexual assault cases over to outside prosecutors fell just short of defeating a filibuster.

According to the Associated Press, there were more than 5,000 reports of sexual assault filed during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2013, compared with 3,374 the previous year. Barlow said in addition to this week’s self-defense training, airmen get annual training on what constitutes sexual assault and harassment.

“There really is no one, most effective prevention technique for sexual assault. It’s a plethora of different things we do,” Barlow said. “It’s also creating the environment that encourages reporting. We’ve started to break away at that iceberg this year. We’ve seen, across the Air Force, an increase in our numbers (of reported incidents). I’d like to believe … airmen understand that we want them to come forward, that they can trust us, can trust that that we’re going to do something about it, and we’re going to help them.”

This week’s trainees are learning from Gracie, whose family is famous in the world of martial arts, and Torres, who was a professional wrestling “diva” before joining Gracie’s group.

Second Lt. Coraviece Terry said serving in the military with so many men can give some women “a sense of defeatedness,” so she was glad to participate and hopes to help train others.

“I think this will definitely give me a sense of confidence, knowing that I have the knowledge to protect myself if I’m attacked,” Terry said.

Barlow said she’s glad the base is partnering with Wright State, adding that the university will track overall responses to the training, as well as future sexual assault statistics to see what impact the training has.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in News

Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins
Mother with cancer dies a day after delivering twins

A Fresno, California, mother died a day after welcoming newborn twins. KGO-TV reported that Jamie Snider, 30, had been diagnosed with cervical cancer for the second time. She discovered the cancer returned when she learned she was pregnant. Throughout her pregnancy, Snider underwent intensive treatment that included chemotherapy. “They couldn't...
Report: Shooting near metro station in France linked to criminal gangs
Report: Shooting near metro station in France linked to criminal gangs

The shooting Friday night that injured three people in Lille, France, is believed to be linked to criminal gangs, news agencies are reporting. The shooting in the northern French city injured three people, including a 14-year-old boy. However, none of the injuries were described as life-threatening, according to reports, including from the Daily Mirror...
8-week-old boy found strapped to car seat in parking lot; parents arrested
8-week-old boy found strapped to car seat in parking lot; parents arrested

A Texas couple was charged with child endangerment Thursday after a woman told Harris County sheriff’s deputies that she found their 8-week-old child in the middle of a parking lot, according to multiple reports. A woman called police Tuesday night after finding the baby boy strapped to a car seat in a parking space in a Katy strip mall, ...
‘World’s Greatest Leader’ list includes Kasich, LeBron
‘World’s Greatest Leader’ list includes Kasich, LeBron

Who’s a better leader, John Kasich or LeBron James? According to Fortune magazine, the Cleveland Cavaliers star edges out the Ohio governor, but Kasich did well nonetheless, finishing 12th in the publication’s fourth annual ranking of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” Related: You can call up the list here The list is purposely...
COMMENTARY: Remembering black history is American history

Why don’t we have White History Month? I was recently talking with a medical professional and the subject of Black History Month, which was marked last month, came up. The phrase had barely been uttered when this person I have known and respected for many years quipped, “Why don’t we have White History Month?” The response seemed...
More Stories