Warding off bullies: Three steps from self defense experts

At least one in three girls experienced some form of bullying, the same number reported depression. (Pixabay/Elizabet21/Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 4.0)
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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Some girls in East Tennessee spent their Fall Break learning to fight off bullies without ever using their fists.

According to Girls Inc., one in four girls will be harassed or sexually assaulted before they're 18-years-old. The organization also said that a majority of girls report being bullied at school.

A program started by Girls Incorporated of Tennessee Valley looks to give girls the confidence to stand up to bullies.

Self defense instructors said children should loudly say 'back off and leave me alone' when a bully approaches. They also said kids should create space and keep bullies out of their own bubble.

Experts said yelling at a bully creates a natural fear, shows confidence, and causes a commotion and draws attention.

Self defense experts also said children should not be alone where a bully can get to them. Instead they recommend traveling in pairs.

Girls Inc. said children often put their head down and try to avoid bullies in school for fear of their safety. They said self defense classes are more than just knowledge to fight, but it also gives them confidence.

"They don't have to live in fear. Adults aren't always around to protect the children, so it is our responsibility to put the tools the girls need into their hands to protect themselves," Amy Phillips, the athletics director for Girls Incorporated of Tennessee Valley, said.

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