A Calgary woman is stepping up to help her neighbours following a string of assaults.
Police say there have been 15 reported incidents since November in a number of communities, including several in Mission, Thorncliffe, Huntington Hills and Hillhurst.
Investigators say a man approaches women from behind, groping them before running off.
The news prompted jiu-jitsu instructor Diana Trang to use her skills to help others by hosting free self-defence classes online from her studio Satori Wellness.
“It’s obviously hitting close to home with the recent news, so I have to use this as an opportunity to get more people learning these kinds of things so they know how to protect themselves,” Trang said.
“I’m passionate about empowerment and people having the skills to defend themselves if need be.”
The first class was on Jan. 24 and organized via Facebook through a private community group. The event ended up getting hundreds of likes and shares across the province.
“It just got such an overwhelming response, with a couple of hundred people in less than a day,” Trang said.
The event was free, but for those who could donate, proceeds of the class went to Kula Project YYC, a non-profit Trang runs that helps decrease financial barriers to wellness by purchasing uniforms, activities and equipment.
Trang has decided to host a second live virtual class on Feb. 6.
Proceeds from that class will be split between Kula Project YYC and Budo Youth Fund (BYF). BYF helps subsidize youth involvement in martial arts.
According to the Calgary Police Service, the assaults have happened during the day and night.
- Walk with others or in well-populated areas
- Stay in well-lit areas
- Be aware of your surroundings, limit the use of devices that would prohibit your awareness
- Limit the number of belongings that you are carrying in your arms to reduce your vulnerability
If you are attacked:
- create noise to attract attention
- do not try to keep hold of your possessions or valuables
- pay attention to physical attributes of your attacker and what they are wearing
- call 911 immediately
In a news release, CPS states groping is classified as sexual assault and upon conviction can be subject to jail time.