Local group holds free self-defense classes for women in memory of Sierah Joughin

WAUSEON, Ohio (13abc Action News) - The murder of Sierah Joughin is still fresh in the minds of those in Wauseon.

"I'm hoping to be able to defend myself in a situation, like, that Sierah was in, or anyone could possibly be in," said a Wauseon High School senior.

More than six months after her death, a group of local women are empowering themselves through self-defense.

It's a proactive effort aimed at fighting back and putting an end to violent attacks like the one that happened to Sierah.

"The time to think about what you want to do is not the time that somebody's attacking you," said Lt. John Roof with the Wauseon Police Department. "You have to have a little bit of mental rehearsal there."

Sandy Swanson and her two teenage daughters took part in the class.

"With certain things that have happened locally, I just feel that this is a great opportunity to teach them how to be prepared and defend themselves if they need to," said Swanson.

Like many women in the class, Swanson came with hopes of learning what to do in the face of danger.

"I'm not looking for something to happen, but just in that case," said Swanson. "There's a lot of stuff that's happening in this area, and you just never know."

Building confidence is exactly why those with Keeping Our Girls Safe put on the free course.

The group, and annual motorcycle ride, was formed after Sierah's death as away to raise money to support the classes held in her memory.

"You can't be afraid to be out in public," said the sister of Sierah's boyfriend, Mary Kolasinski "If we have hundreds of women take these classes and it saves one person then it's all worth it."

For mother's like Sandy Swanson, it's time well spent on a weekend for a little peace of mind knowing that she and her daughters are better protected.

"If this were to happen, now I have some steps of how to actually get out of the situation before I let something happen," said Swanson.

Keeping Our Girls Safe is holding two free self-defense classes during the month of March. The classes are open to girls ages 16 and up.

For more information, click the link to the right of this story.