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Self defense expert's one takeaway for fighting off rape attacks

With a serial rapist still at large in Clayton County, self-defense classes were added by the sheriff's office. And a self-defense expert says everyone who takes part, will have at least one takeaway

CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — An alleged serial rapist is still out there in Clayton County. 

Authorities say he assaulted seven women in the last two years, and now, the sheriff's office wants to train women to protect themselves.

Two sketches of the suspect were released in 2018. Law enforcement says he’s broken into apartments and townhouses, sometimes using a knife. The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office is offering 10 self defense classes for women while they look for him.

RELATED: Serial rapist connected to at least 7 cases, police say

Cole Parker, runs Divas In Defense and isn't associated with the training in Clayton County. However, he has trained thousands of women with his mobile self-defense classes across the country over the last 10 years. 

11Alive's Hope Ford sat down with Parker to ask how, in a moment of panic and pure fear, can women recall that training they’ll receive? Point blank, Parker said you won't remember everything.

"It’s not to make you a secret agent. It’s to make you prepared for a situation in case it happens," Parker explained. "The more you do it, it becomes second nature."

RELATED: Victim's boyfriend walks in on serial rapist during attack: Police

In his classes, Parker's met women who have been raped and want to learn to protect themselves. He's also met women who took the class and would later use the techniques to save their life. 

"When it comes to a young girl, a guy tried to rape her. She took our class," Parker recalled. "He broke into her dormitory room. Broke in through the window. She was smart enough to turn the desk toward the gentleman, for a lack of better terms, to run and get help.”

Parker said using what's around is important, and once someone's in your house, anything can be a weapon. 

RELATED: Assault survivor recalls horrifying attack possibly linked to serial rapist in Clayton County

“If you can pick it up, launch it. Scream, yell, use things to block. Run around the couch," he listed. "Do your best to keep distance between you and that person, a self-defense class does give you that.”

And besides learning situational awareness, Parker adds women find out just how powerful they really are.

"A lot of women that come before us, never had a fight. So, you don’t know your own strength," Parker said. "But, when you take one of those classes, at least, you know, I do have a little thrust behind my punch."

As for weapon's training, Parker said he can't teach anyone the first time around how to disarm someone, but he can tell you how to fight them.

“An hour with me is not going to teach you how to disarm a person with a knife," Parker admitted. "But, what I can tell you is, your forearms, good things to put up front. Why? You will get cut, can't lie about that, but it’s limited life-threatening injuries with your forearms. And those up front, go in with your forearms, grab the knife if you can, grab that arm, run full speed, try to do something.”

Parker said every woman will learn something different in the class and will have one takeaway.

“I don’t know what it is for you, but that one takeaway can be the difference between you being a victim and you thwarting that attacker, where you find your power to say, 'you’re not going to do it to me'," Parker explained. “I don’t care. If I got to bite your face, scratch your eyes out, spit on you, whatever I gotta do to make sure I’m not going to be that person that you cause that level of trauma to."

"That’s what self defense classes do," Parker promised. "It gives you that power.”

Below is the schedule for the Clayton County classes for April

Thursday, April 4 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday, April 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Tuesday, April 9 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 11 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, April 13 from  3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday, April 26 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, April 27 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Monday, April 29 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

To sign up contact Amanda Borher at  678-479-5322 or email her at Amanda.Boehrer@claytoncountyga.gov

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