Empowering Women Through Self-Defense Classes

A company called SASS is helping women take steps toward a stronger, safer lifestyle. SASS stands for surviving assault standing strong.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The headlines we've seen lately about sexual assault and sexual harassment allegations against Hollywood power players has been alarming. 

It's not just a "Hollywood thing." It's happening right here in our communities. 

A company called SASS is helping women take steps toward a stronger, safer lifestyle. SASS stands for surviving assault standing strong. 

Shannon Henry, the CEO of SASS, said "We all have power within us to protect ourselves. We just tap into that. It's already there,we just tap into that." 

For the past 4 years, Henry has been teaching a self-defense course at the University of South Carolina. Not only does she teach proper techniques for responding to a physical attack, but she reminds young women how powerful they are. 

Olivia Hassler is one of those women. "The best way I can explain it is the way Shannon explained it. When you go through something like that, it's like you have a video tape and you re-watch it over and over again. But when you take this class, you take out the video tape and you flip it over and start recording a new chapter" Hassler said.

RELATED: Olivia Hassler: Turning Pain Into Purpose

Hassler was a Division I athlete at USC when she was brutally attacked by her ex-boyfriend. Fast forward a few years, she is now speaking out against domestic violence. "It's an important step for women to be able to take back your power, especially when it's been taken away from you" Hassler said. 

According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 1 in 5 women report being raped in their lifetime. In addition, 45.9 percent of women in our state report being victims of sexual violence or coercion. 

If you can't make it, there are other classes like these being offered for men and women around the Midlands. Reach out to local law enforcement for details.

For more information about SASS, visit their website 

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