Local woman wants other women to be safe

Published 10:55 am Saturday, November 8, 2014

A free program is being organized for women dedicated to making them more aware of staying safe from attacks. The empowering event, sponsored by The Tidewater News, is being organized chiefly by Ginnie Spivey, marketing consultant for the newspaper.

“Power to Women” will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Regional Workforce Development Center at Paul D. Camp Community College in Franklin. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and is expected to last no more than 2 to 2-1/2 hours.

“It started out as a small home party, and blossomed,” Spivey said. “I met a woman in Suffolk a couple of months ago, Courtney Wallace [of Damsel in Defense]. She’s an advocate of women’s safety and she had tons and tons of good information.”

Although Spivey has never been physically assaulted, the encounter with Wallace inspired the idea to create the awareness program and, as she said, “It just stuck in my mind.”

When Tony Clark, publisher, heard about it, he encouraged her to expand the project.

Various speakers connected to different features of personal safety have been invited.

Featured will be a representative from local law enforcement.

“The Franklin Police Department is totally supporting it,” Spivey said. “They’ll offer helpful advice on how women can protect themselves.”

The program also comes at a timely moment when women will get ready to shop for the holidays.

“You hear more about attacks, purse snatchings, mall stalking and car jackings,” she said. “It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and what you’re doing.”

An example Spivey gave is for women not to have their faces buried in their cell phones.

“Not paying attention makes you an easy target,” she said, and added that other things which can tip off potential attackers are personalized license plates that make the driver easily recognizable, and the rear window stickers that show how many people are in the family.

A martial arts instructor has been invited to demonstrate basic techniques that a woman could use in case they’re attacked.

Wallace, who works as a consultant for Damsel in Defense, will present the company’s line of self-defense products. A business woman who’s been a victim of an attack in the past, self-defense for women is now “her life’s cause.”

Door prizes, refreshments and “a little bit of fun” will also be included.

Attendees are asked to bring in a donation of some sort for the Genieve Shelter, which protects battered women and children. Suggestions include blankets, food, jackets and toiletries.

Women planning to attend are asked to contact Spivey at 562-3187 or ginnie.spivey@tidewaternews.com for a head count of how many will attend.

“We want to get the message out there,” she said.