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Teenage girls empowered to stand tall in new school self-defence program

Amy Tribe, Melissa Histon and Carly Reasbeck

Hunter charity, Got Your Back Sista (GYBS) has rolled out a 10-week self-defence program in the Hunter region to educate teenage students on healthy relationships, thanks to the support of nib foundation.

The program, known as Stand Tall Sista for Teens, was developed in response to the high rate of violence against women, with 1 in 3 women having experienced physical violence since the age of 15.

Students of WEA Hunter's Alesco Senior Colleges are taking part in the program which teaches them the basics of self-defence, how to scan an environment, and how to identify the red flags of an unhealthy relationship.

Founder and CEO of GYBS, Melissa Histon, said the Stand Tall program will help the students to build confidence and learn techniques and skills to better protect themselves if faced with a dangerous situation.

"Thanks to our partnership with nib foundation, we're able to deliver a targeted program that allows us to educate young people about what to do if they feel unsafe and what a healthy relationship looks like," Mrs Histon said.

"Along with a number of self-defence tips and techniques, the girls will also learn to understand 'power presence' through simple body language changes, helping to build their confidence in everyday situations," she added.

nib foundation Executive Officer, Amy Tribe said it's proud to support a unique program which empowers teens to take a stand, look out for each other and take care of their physical and mental health and wellbeing.

"It's an unfortunate reality where woman need to be aware of the possible physical and domestic dangers that might occur when out in public or in the home," Mrs Tribe said.

"This program is an opportunity to provide a positive support network for young girls and connect them to the right services if they do find themselves in a dangerous situation," she added.

The Stand Tall program is delivered by GYBS's qualified Taekwondo and self-defence Instructor, Carly Reasbeck, who delivers sessions at both Alesco Senior Colleges and at GYBS's headquarters in Tighes Hill.

Participants are taught basic skills on how to protect themselves and what to do if threatened, grabbed, assaulted, or your personal space is encroached.

Principal of Alesco Senior Colleges, Therese Pantalone said that the program was an important addition to the 2019 curriculum.

"Many of our young people are from diverse backgrounds and some have grown up in and around unhealthy relationships. We believe that this program will certainly help these young students to understand what respectful relationships without violence should look like," Therese said.

"We also see this as a great opportunity to provide students with an opportunity to engage in a physical activity that we believe will not only build their self-confidence but also build a collegiate teamwork with their peers," she added.