Women’s self-defense is a point of passion for Sidney Police Officer Laura Finn. It’s something she feels the community is lacking, which is why she organized the upcoming Sidney Women’s Self-Defense Course on Sept. 18, 19 and 21.
“One of the things I’ve noticed as a law enforcement officer is women often don’t have the knowledge to fight back,” Finn said. “We can’t overpower an attacker, but women are smart. You have to outsmart an attacker.”
Finn enlisted the help of instructors from Knights School out of Washington state for the course. The classes will focus on awareness, tactics and self-defense, including how to defeat restraints like handcuffs or rope. Finn said she wants to encourage women of every age to take varying courses in self-defense and to become well-versed in defense tactics.
“Montana ranks number 10 for sexual assaults in the country per capita,” Finn said. “That’s what’s reported. There are a large majority of rapes that aren’t report. An estimated 80 percent go unreported.”
Finn said recent events in the community motivated her to get a self-defense course to women in the area. The last course geared toward females she could recall was right after Sherry Arnold went missing almost eight years ago.
“Those girls who were children when that happened are now young women,” Finn said.
Finn has noticed a boost in sexual assault cases in Williston, Billings and locally. Most occur at the hands of someone the victim knew.
“We are dealing with some serious sexual assault cases right now,” Finn said. “It kills me to see a woman in a defeated position and feel like she’s a victim. Sometimes that’s why they don’t want to report. They don’t want to be seen as weak. Female victims of sexual assault are at a higher risk for drug abuse. We know that Sidney and this area has a drug issue. I want to give these women resources to protect themselves.”
The first round of classes will serve as a bit of a trial run. Due to the safety of the women in the course, more information is available by contacting Laura Finn directly or by visiting the event on Facebook at “Women’s Self Defense Course.”
“Our purpose isn’t to make money,” Finn said. “We are very passionate about women defending themselves. We care about our community and we want our women to be safe.”
Cost is $75 per registrant, but no one will be turned away based on affordability. Women are encouraged to bring their own water and Finn said she will also be providing water for attendees.