Some 4,000 American females are murdered each year. A female in the United States is 3 times more likely to be murdered than a female in Canada, 5 times more likely to be murdered than a female in Germany, and 8 times more likely to be murdered than a female in England and Wales. The firearm homicide rate for US females is 11 times higher than that in the other high-income countries. (Source: Firearm Availability and Female Homicide Victimization Rates among 25 Populous High Income Countries, 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association)
These statistics are worthy of attention to some, worthy of action to Vicki Kawelmacher. In 2004, Vicki and her husband were accosted while sitting on a beach. In 2007, the Kawelmacher’s ten-year old daughter barely escaped from being abducted in their ‘kid-friendly’ neighborhood. In 2008, their 28-year old son was a victim of a home invasion he barely survived. Were these incidents sheer coincidence or signs of a calling?
In January 2008, she opened The Women’s Shooting Academy (WSA) in Reno, Nevada (http://www.womensshootingacademy.com/). The Academy provides women with a place to attend firearms use classes. The courses include Women’s Introduction to Handguns (for novices and future gun owners), Introduction to Tactics (for hands-on handgun use), CCW (a firearms qualifications course required in order to carry a concealed weapons permit in Nevada, Utah and Florida) as well as a Gun Cleaning and Maintenance course.
Her personal history aside, Vicki has other reasons to crusade this cause: women are walking targets for all types of predators. A 2009 U.S. Department of Justice Victims of Violence study noted that females are at a higher risk of stalking victimization than males, that females experienced 20 stalking victimizations per 1,000 females age 18 or older and that females made up 70% of victims killed by an intimate partner in 2007, a proportion that has changed very little since 1993.
In addition to the firearms courses, women seeking alternatives to firearm defense can also sign up for OC Pepper Spray (taught by a Certified Oleoresin Capsicum Aerosol Training Instructor) and Knife Training (taught by a Certified martial arts instructor) and Refuse To Be A Victim (a 4-hour NRA program focused on developing crime prevention strategies and personal safety plans).
The concept behind the training is that the best defense is developing a preparedness strategy, being more aware of your surroundings to minimize confrontation and knowing what to do should you be attacked. Course information can be found at: http://www.womensshootingacademy.com/class_schedule.html
What makes the Women’s Shooting Academy unique is that all firearms courses are taught by women and their instructional approach is different. “Most women have a fear of guns as great as their fear of being attacked,” notes Vicki. She continued, “We work to help them become comfortable with how to use firearms not just how to apply them to defend themselves. Today, Vicki and her colleagues have already trained over 400 women and each one has a personal story as to how their safety has been compromised but how empowering it makes them feel have taken the classes.”
When asked why she started an enterprise in economic times like these, Vicki responded, “You can’t put a price on safety. People are learning (some the hard way) that self defense is a necessity not a luxury.”
Vicki’s long-term goal is to build a facility that will serve as the premier firearms training center for women in the western U.S. For now, she fights for the cause by teaching women how to shoot a target rather than become one.
Press Release courtesy of Online PR News: (http://www.onlineprnews.com).
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