Photos, notes from a self-defense class organized in response to Lake Highlands attacks

Following a series of violent sexual attacks in the Lake Highlands area, two Lake Highlands groups organized a self defense class at Lake Highlands High School. Instructors from Chamberlain’s studio taught basic moves to the participants. The Advocate’s Lauren Shambeck took photos. Carol Toler interviewed some of the attendees, whose comments appear after the jump.

More than 100 participants showed for a free self defense class.
More than 100 participants showed for a free self defense class at Lake Highlands High.
Stephani Walne and Kira Hartgrove, respectively with the Lake Highland's Junior Women's League and the Lake Highland's Area Early Childhood PTA, organized the workshop.
Stephani Walne and Kira Hartgrove, respectively with the Lake Highland’s Junior Women’s League and the Lake Highland’s Area Early Childhood PTA, organized the workshop.
Instructors from Chamberlain studio taught participants basic self-defense.
Instructors from Chamberlain studio taught participants basic self-defense.

Lake Highlands residents are on alert, but they are taking measures to stay safe. Here’s what some of last night’s students had to say about why they showed up:

I was a little fearful at first, but not now. I see police all over the neighborhood. It seems like we’re safer now than ever. Everyone is on high alert. —Alison Wire

I used to leave the back door open while I was home to let the dog go in and out. Now I keep it locked and he doesn’t have the leisure to do as he pleases. Actually, it’s more inconvenient for me than him. When I’m alone, I lock doors of the rooms I’m in and take the dog with me into the bathroom. It makes me sad. Our Leave it to Beaver sense of community is gone. My girlfriends feel the same way. It’s the first topic of conversation when we’re together. —Sheila Curtis

Word has spread—once again Lake Highlands is in the news. People who don’t live here don’t understand.
One person shouldn’t be able to that [sense of community] away. When they come into the school, they ask me ‘have you heard anything?’ They think I have information.—Lisa Andrews, who works in the front office at Lake Highlands High School

I am concerned.This has rattled all the ladies in my neighborhood. The last attack was brutal and shocking. I could imagine someone being attacked walking alone—not someone coming into your own house while you’re taking a shower. —Diane Reeves, LH resident of 8 years, lives near the trail

I came because I needed a refresher. I haven’t taken a self-defense class sense college. —Julie Jodie

Since the rapes began, we upgraded our security system and I’ve been setting our alarm consistently.—Michelle Dishman

I was here the other night (at the community meeting), and even with that quick demonstration I learned a lot. —Lisa Johnson, brought her LHHS senior daughter this time.

Also from the attendees: Rod Marsh and Barry Melton were some of the few men in attendance. They study at Dallas Academy of Martial Arts and say they were interested in seeing the demonstration and hearing updates from police.They’re considering offering free self-defense seminars in their circles, much like those offered by Chamberlain.


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