Amber Vandegrift, guest reporter
Cass County Prosecuting Attorney Teresa Hensley came to the Belton Hampton Inn to teach women of the area how they can keep themselves safe through her Personal Safety Program, held July 17.
The self-defense program was free to anyone. A crowd of ladies, young and old, came to attend the course.
A substantial lesson of Hensley’s course was to always be alert. She encouraged the women in the audience to always be aware of who is around them. She used examples of ladies who walk through parking lots texting or occupying themselves with their phones and how they are not even aware of the presence of others. To keep themselves safe, Hensley warned the women to be aware of their surroundings.
She told the audience that they should also never be afraid to be rude when it comes to their security. She told them that they do not have to open their front door if they do not feel safe with the person on the other side. Hensley told her audience not to answer the phone if they do not know who it is or to hang up if they do not feel comfortable talking to a stranger. Hensley also made it clear to the women that they should not to feel silly asking for someone trustworthy to walk them to their car if they feel uncomfortable or unsafe. She gave the example that if it is late at the grocery store, to ask a manager to walk them to their car.
Another lesson of Hensley’s was for ladies to not put themselves in a position where they can get hurt. For example, she told the audience to walk in the middle of the aisles in a parking lot, because, she said, danger lurks to the right and left. She told the ladies to be especially cautious at a car wash, gas station, ATM, or public bathroom.
As a part of the program, a retired police officer from Harrisonville stressed the importance of Internet safety. He showed the audience how easily anyone could access personal information about them, based on social media and other websites. He advised them to always be aware of their “internet footprint.”
The course helped the women in attendance to “make safety their priority.”