KIRO NEWSRADIO

Bellevue PD is teaching women to fight back with self-defense

May 14, 2024, 7:31 PM | Updated: May 15, 2024, 5:47 am

Image: Women take part in a self defense class as part of the Women Empowered Series organized by t...

Women take part in a self defense class as part of the Women Empowered Series organized by the Bellevue Police Department. (Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department)

(Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Police Department)

More than 320 women were the victims of assault in 2023 with another 97 cases reported so far this year, according to the Bellevue Police Department (BPD).

“The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also found that about one in three women – including about 41.4% of Washington women – experience some form of domestic violence from a partner or significant other,” BPD spokesperson Drew Anderson said.

It’s two of the biggest reasons BPD is teaching girls of all ages how to protect themselves.

“Being the one of the few police departments in the world that is certified to offer regularly occurring workshops like this is a special thing for us,” BPD Officer Craig Hanaumi, the creator of the Women Empowered Series, said. “With lots of help from our colleagues and friends in our community, we believe that the caliber of instruction in our workshops meets the standards set at Gracie University’s for-profit schools, and we are proud to provide this to women for free.”

Hanaumi said more than 2,000 women have attended his self-defense workshop since it began. Some traveled more than 60 miles to be there.

He said a typical class holds about 25 to 30 women.

“And there’s no upper cap (for age), the oldest woman I believe — because you’re not supposed to ask right? — but she said she was 89,” Hanaumi said. The youngest member was 11.

“Young women are especially at risk with about 82% of juvenile victims being female. About 90% of rape victims are female,” Anderson said in an email.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence also stated in that one in three women who have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner mentioned previously, it includes “a range of behaviors (e.g. slapping, shoving, pushing) and in some cases might not be considered ‘domestic violence.'”

More on the self-defense courses for women

Information about the next two classes of the month can be seen below:

WHAT: Women Empowered Self-Defense Workshop

WHEN: 1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m., Sunday, May 19 and Sunday, May 26

WHERE: Bellevue City Hall (450 110th Ave. NE, Bellevue)

Hanaumi reiterated that the self-defense workshops are free. However, those interested in attending are encouraged to email to reserve a spot: chanaumi@bellevuewa.gov

More classes will be announced next month.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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Bellevue PD is teaching women to fight back with self-defense