Girls’ Day Out event encourages self defense
Sergeant Robert Moore teaches escape techniques.
Choctaw Nation Project SAFE, Voices 4 Survivors and the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women hosted a “Girls Day Out” on Aug. 17, 2013, at the McAlester EXPO Center. The free daylong event open to girls ages 12-120, focused on the “My Body…My Life” program presented by keynote speaker Sergeant Robert Moore, MHR, BHRS, LPC of the Norman Police Department, who is the author and primary developer of the program. “One in 15 female students experience dating violence and one in four women are raped or sexually abused,” said Moore. “This class teaches young girls to protect themselves physically, mentally and socially.”
Opening for the day’s event, Choctaw Nation Tribal Councilman Bob Pate noted that violence comes in many shapes and forms, and affects both young and old. Sgt. Moore followed by presenting the “My Body…My Life” program, which focuses on “Empowering women through awareness, education, violence prevention and self-defense techniques.” “It is important to know your boundaries,” said Moore. “The most powerful word in any language is ‘no.’ No two people will say it the same. It defines your boundaries. It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it. In order to protect yourself, you must say no, walk away and report the situation.”
Sexual violence is preventable, however a recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) showed that on average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical abuse or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Victimization often occurs for the first time before age 25 and is usually by someone known to the victim, primarily by a current or former intimate partner or acquaintance. Educational materials and techniques presented through Sgt. Moore’s “My Body…My Life” program aim to reduce rape and sexual violence by 70 to 90 percent.
In addition to the “My Body…My Life” program, afternoon breakout sessions were held to allow participants the opportunity to focus on specific areas of interest. Sessions included:
• “How Not to Act,” presented by Cherrah Giles of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Department of the Community and Human Services, and the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women.
• “The Language of Love,” presented by Mary Whiteshirt, MHR, LPC, of the Cherokee Nation Youth Shelter and the Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women.
• “Self Respect,” presented by Sandy Hall of the Choctaw Nation Voices for Survivors.
• “Ohoyo Pisa Achukma (Pretty Woman),” presented by LaDell Emmons of the OSU Extension Office and American Beauty Institute.
• “Self- Defense,” presented by Sgt. Robert Moore and his daughter, Megan.
The approximate 210 who attended “Girls Day Out” were also treated to lunch, goodie bags, and dancing, lead by District 11 Senior Choctaw Princess Cherish Wilkerson. All attending were entered into a drawing for several door prizes and given a shirt in exchange for evaluation forms.
Yakoke to those whose hard work made this life changing event a success - Oklahoma Federation of Indian Women, Choctaw Nation Voices for Survivors, Choctaw Nation Project SAFE, Choctaw Senior Citizens of Pittsburg County, Choctaw Nation Youth Advisory Board and Youth Empowerment, Choctaw Nation Sexual Assault Response Team and Choctaw Nation Children and Family Services.
District 11 Senior Choctaw Princess Cherish Wilkerson leads girls in dancing.