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Targeted Intervention
Second Lt. Tom Cunningham throws a punch and Tech. Sgt. Michael Mansker demonstrates how to block it during a May instructor’s course for the Targeted Intervention self defense class at Sheppard Air Force Base. The class teaches male Airmen how to intercede to prevent sexual assaults from happening. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Airman 1st Class Matthew Varga)
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Course to teach Airmen to help Airmen

Posted 5/20/2009   Updated 5/20/2009 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Matthew Varga
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

5/20/2009 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- 

Briefings, lectures and speeches from first sergeants, chiefs and commanders about sexual assault only go so far. It's up to individuals, 82nd Training Wing Commander Brig. Gen. O.G. Mannon said, to step in and prevent the crime from occurring. 

That's why he wanted Targeted Intervention, a course that teaches defensive techniques, to come to Sheppard that would teach Airmen - males specifically - how to intervene when a female Airmen needs help. 

"The only individuals with the power to help stop sexual assaults on Airmen are other Airmen in their peer group," the general said. "Female Airmen need male Airmen wingmen that will step in and defuse potential sexual assaults before they occur in group settings." 

David Barnett, co-founder of the course and owner of Premier Martial Arts in San Angelo, Texas, said his course teaches people how to react and it also changes the culture of sexual assault prevention. 

"We have to change people's attitudes as well as prevent such attacks," he said. "Our goal is to teach people how to prevent an attack, but also how to deal with it if an attack occurs." 

Mr. Barnett's first class was in April. Another class began May 20. 

Target Hardening, another course developed by Mr. Barnett, has been taught at Sheppard on various occasions to teach females self-defense moves. But, the general said that wasn't enough to change the culture and prevent sexual assaults. He said men need to be trained how to intervene when they detect a dangerous situation in which someone is at risk of sexual or physical assault. 

"One way to encourage such behavior is to have those male Airmen willing to step up to that challenge receive training that provides tools allowing them to safely and effectively intercede, breaking the cycle of an improper, unwanted advances on one of their female teammates," General Mannon said. 

When asked how long he will continue teaching the courses, Mr. Barnett's reply was to the point: "Until sexual assault is completely eliminated." 

Click on the hyperlinks to learn more about Targeted Intervention or Target Hardening. 

Targeted Intervention                                              Target Hardening

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