Fighting back: Self-defense educator encourages lessons after recent attacks in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Two women were attacked in La Crosse in the span of one week, but both were able to escape.

One attack happened near 13th Street South and King Street and another on a walking trail near Gundersen Health System.

A teacher at Three Rivers Martial Arts Academy in La Crosse says thes attacks are a reminder why self defense classes are necessary.

La Crosse police Lt. Linnea Miller says the women are an example of courage and strength for others.

“For me, it gives me a sense of confidence that I know these two people were able to do it. I could probably do that too,” Miller said.

Although such attacks can happen anytime, incidents occur more often as the weather gets warmer, Miller said.

“It’s going to be something you might see outside more often because of the number of people outside,” she said.

But there are ways to stay safe. Miller says having a clear head and being aware of your surroundings is the first step.

“Stay calm in order to think through what you can do to help yourself to be safe,” Miller said.

Echoing that advice, and adding more, is Pamela Mihm, who teaches WISE – Women Initiating Safe Environments – classes at Three Rivers Martial Arts in La Crosse.

“It just is a knowledge of your environment as well as physical self defense techniques,” Mihm said.

Everyone should take a self-defense class to learn what to do in these situations, she said.

“If they’re threatening your life, you need to be willing to do what it takes to stop them from taking your life,” Mihm said.

If you’re being attacked, be loud, she said.

“They depend on an easy target, somebody that’s not going to fight back and draw attention to themselves,” Mihm said.

Use self defense techniques.

“Use every part of their body to move and fight against it,” she said.

Until it becomes muscle memory.

Three Rivers Martial Arts has opened registration for the WISE program.

La Crosse police say that, if you are headed somewhere alone, tell someone your location before you go; if you are a bystander and see something, say something.