Breaking silence: Taking a stand on violence against women

From The Spectrum Newspaper, St. George, UT
March 19, 2010
By Jennifer Weaver

Breaking silence: Taking a stand on violence against women

March 19, 2010

I have not gone public about this incident before but I think it's time.

When I was 14, I was lured into a vehicle by a middle-aged man I didn't know who said school officials had asked him to pick me up for an audition for a movie, Footloose 2." He knew my name and that I was a dancer, so I got into his Jeep with him at the UTA bus stop after school got out for the day.

Being an innocent and naive girl, and quite honestly, too excited about the prospect of dancing in a movie to think straight, I didn't realize I had my dance group's sweat suit on with my name printed on it. I can't tell you how many times over the last 25 years I've chastised myself for being so stupid because this monster drove to a remote area near the Salt Lake City International Airport and assaulted me physically.

I fought back.

He told me he'd kill me if I didn't do what he wanted. I didn't exactly react well to the threat because I responded through gritted teeth that he'd have to kill me first before I'd do anything he wanted. We struggled and he hit me several times. I used every ounce of strength I could to fend off his advances.

It was enough.

As a miracle would have it, the man relented. He said I was a "special girl" and, following my directions, took me home. I never saw him again but that moment changed my life forever. Not once have I ever shed a tear about this episode. As I write this column, I am crying - finally.

Violence against women - young and old - is a serious problem locally and nationally. Battering is a pattern of behavior that leads the abuser to think he or she has power and control over another person through fear and intimidation.

The National Institute of Crime Prevention says abuse and battering are one in the same. They can take many forms including one or more of the following: emotional abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse, using children, threats, using male privilege, intimidation, isolation, and a variety of other behaviors used to maintain fear and power, NICP said.

In many communities the problem is kept quiet and no one gets involved. That was the case with my incident. Embarrassment, fear and guilt sealed my experience, not because I didn't confide in people who I thought would help and comfort me, but because they, too, shared the same emotions of embarrassment, fear and guilt.

There are people trying to stop violence against women. On Target Defensive Training is among them.

Dan Kidder, co-founder and co-owner of On Target, is facilitating a two-day women's self-defense training at the Holiday Inn Express in Washington, 2450 N. Town Center Dr. The techniques he's teaching are used by special operations of the Marine Corps in hand-to-hand combat.

Women will learn how to escape holds, defend against armed attacks and execute throws and evasive tactics. Pre-registration is required and the cost is $35. For more information or to register, please call 238-7643 or visit You'll see me there, March 24 and 25, 6 to 9 p.m., because it's about time I empower myself from an attack a quarter of a century ago.

If you're saying to yourself being attacked is something you'd never experience, think again.

Some statistics by NICP are:

  • Women are usually victimized by offenders they know.
  • Each year, women are the victims of more than 4.5 million violent crimes, including approximately 500,000 rapes or other sexual assaults.
  • Strangers are responsible for about 1 in 5 sexual assaults.
  • Forty-five percent of all violent attacks against female victims 12-years-old and older by multiple offenders also involve offenders they know.
  • Strangers use weapons 30 percent of the time, compared to 18 percent for intimates.
  • Women from 19- to 29-years-old are more likely than women of other ages to be victimized by an intimate.

Contact Cedar City Daily News Bureau Chief Jennifer Weaver at 865-4526 or e-mail

The cost of ignorance is far higher than the price of our training.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Dan Kidder • BCI/ NRA Certified Instructor • (435) 238-7643 • Cedar City, UT

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