By Callie Jackson 
BELLEVILLE – A new self-defence group in Belleville is helping women empower themselves by providing monthly drop-in class.
Warrior Women of Quinte  held its first training session on Wednesday and interest is already spiking, co-coordinator Elissa Robertson said.
“We’re pleased with the amount of interest considering this is the first one we’ve hosted. Women play a significant role in any community, and we believe it is vital to creating opportunities for them to grow and thrive in order combat various forms of oppression.”
According to the Belleville Police Service Board  report released in January, there were 95 assaults and 19 actual sex offenses at the end of last year.
The group’s goal is to teach a minimum of 60 women in the area and had around seven women come to the first class, she said.
Robertson said various women’s groups have approached her asking if something could be done to fill a gap in local services to provide women with proper training.
The purpose of a monthly drop-in course is to make the program more assessable, she said.
“Instead of organizing a continuous program we felt that a monthly drop-in class that covers basic techniques and safety planning would be more suitable as long-term training can be time-consuming and expensive,” she said.
Classes will benefit the women both physically and mentally, Robertson added.
“Not only are participants gaining defense techniques, but also a feeling of confidence and empowerment. Also exploring a different form of exercise, developing situational awareness, social interaction, nurturing one’s warrior spirit and healing from past experiences.”
Loyalist student Joyia Moggridge, who is in the Police Foundations program, said she is planning on attending a class.
“There’s nothing like this in Belleville, so I think it’s something everyone here should be interested in taking.”
The program will be great for the women in our area, Moggridge added.
“Even though we don’t think we are in a dangerous place, anything can happen, and I have been in situations here where I wish I would have known better self-defence techniques. I think the program will be really beneficial for a lot of women,” she said.
The Warrior Women of Quinte’s classes will take place on the last Wednesday of each month at Belleville Karate and Jujitsu on North Front Street for $10 per person.