Self-defense classes for women in Utah

Apr 18, 2023, 8:00 AM | Updated: Apr 20, 2023, 2:38 pm

Emily Cox teaches during a self-defense workshop in Weber County. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cox)...

Emily Cox teaches during a self-defense workshop in Weber County. (Photo courtesy of Emily Cox)

(Photo courtesy of Emily Cox)

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — A recent report from the Utah Women and Leadership Project shows that almost half of Utah women experience “chronic unsafety” in their lives. This broad feeling is likely behind the popularity of self-defense classes for women.

Emily Cox is a real estate agent who also moonlights as a teacher of self-defense classes for women through the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.

“You are worth protecting!”

“An empowered woman will go out and empower women,” Cox said. “When you’re an empowered woman, you understand you are worth protecting, and you want everyone else to feel that, too.”

Cox first took a self-defense class in Portland, Ore. She wanted to share what she learned with people here in Utah when she moved here. She contacted Sheriff Terry Thompson in 2014 and said she thought there needs to be a self-defense program here.

The sheriff replied, “Where have you been? I’ve had three mothers call me this week who have said, ‘Why don’t you do something to protect our daughters?'”

“Protect our daughters!”

They started writing their own program based on the one Cox took in Portland. She later learned about a program called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense), the largest network of self-defense instructors in the world.

Weber State University had a RAD program, so Cox and some other instructors took the course and started training women.

Girls as young as 12 years old can take the program. Their oldest student was 87. They have taught women who are partially blind, women in current domestic abuse situations who will go home to that spouse after class — any and all women.

How to sign up

You can sign up for the defense classes on Eventbrite. Just search for Weber County Sheriff’s Office — or you can go to the RAD website and find the program nearest you all over the country.

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Self-defense classes for women in Utah