Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pittsburgh KS Sig Eps Sponsor Kemp Foundation Women's Self Defense


Fashion Show Saturday afternoon at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.
Posted Jan 24, 2010 @ 12:22 AM

Tasers aren’t usually considered to be fashion accessories, but both were featured Saturday in Prom Fashion 2010, held Saturday in Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium.
The event was presented by Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority in support of the Ali Kemp Foundation. Following a show of prom finery from Jean Scene, a free self-defense class was offered.
Ali Kemp, 19, was murdered on June 18, 2002, at a Leawood community swimming pool. She fought for her life, and her father, Roger Kemp, reasoned that if she had had some self-defense training, she would have had a better chance of surviving.
The foundation, started by the Kemp family, offers free self-defense classes, and the fashion shows serve as both a fundraiser and as a “lure” to bring in young women.
Kaitlyn Fox and sister Kendra Rouse came up with the idea for the shows. “Ali used to baby-sit us when we were kids,” said Fox, now a Pittsburg State University senior and Tri Sigma president. “We approached the family with the idea, and they approved it. Roger never misses a show.”
The first fashion show was held in 2004 at Blue Valley High School. “There were a lot of hand-made signs in the halls, and we had the show in the school auditorium with 20 audience members,” Fox said. “Now the show is held at the Overland Park Convention Center, and this past year 4,000 people attended.”
Kemp spoke briefly, noting the huge number of lives lost each year to murder. “It is unacceptable that these acts of violence are going on in our society,” he said. “If these classes save one woman’s life, it’s worth it.”
Mandy Riffel, Tri Sig member and fashion show coordinator, said that the Pittsburg show started last year. “I was really excited by the turn-out this year,” she said. “The fashions were wonderful — it really helps that I work at Jean Scene.”
Zachary Baker, PSU ROTC cadet and Sigma Phi Epsilon member, coordinated the self-defense program.
“Last year we had punching and kicking, and I thought this year a classroom setting might be better for the girls, so they could learn how to prevent getting into that setting where an attack might occur,” he said.
Crawford County Deputy Sheriff Mark Rose offered safety tips. “Go out in groups, know how many drinks you’re having and who is giving them to you,” he said. “Never let some guy you don’t know give you a drink.”
He also advised women to park in well-lighted areas, and to always carry their car keys in their hand while walking to their car. “I believe you can feel if something bad is going to happen,” Rose said. “If you feel that, scream and do something to get attention. That could prevent an attack. If somebody does grab you, slash at him with your keys, kick, fight and cuss. Nothing gets attention quicker than cussing.”
Finally, he urged assault victims to get checked at a hospital and notify police. “Whether you pursue charges or not is up to you,” Rose said. “But even if you don’t talk to us, talk to a counselor or a friend. An attack damages not only your body but also your mind. If you don’t deal with it, it will come back and get you.”
After the talk, young women practiced some self-defense moves, and Baker showed his personal taser. “Some people are immune to mace, but nobody’s immune to electricity,” he said.
Baker allowed one of the girls to use the taser on him.
“I was nervous and excited at the same time,” said Shelby Reazin, Altamont, who was a model in the fashion show. “I had always wanted to tase somebody, and it was great to learn some self-defense.”

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