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Teaching others to protect themselves in honor of sister

DECATUR -- A Macon County woman is Taking Action showing women and children how to stay safe.
DECATUR -- A Macon County woman is Taking Action by showing women and children how to stay safe. They're lessons she wishes she and her sister could have learned decades ago.

Running away from your problems doesn't always fix them but, Paula Sebens wonders if running could have helped her sister survive.

"I can very strongly remember thinking that this type of thing only happens in a large city," said Sebens. "This doesn't happen in small towns. Well, it does. It happens very frequently in small towns."

Their small town of Mount Zion was shaken in 1992. 20-year old Penny Timmons was kidnapped and killed on Halloween. Penny's sister, Paula, took it as a sign she needed to teach others to fight back.

"Martial arts teaches you to stand up and fight like a man," said Sebens. "Women and children can't fight like a man."

So instead, the classes teach students to fight like a different kind of animal. Paula's mentor, Laurie Latham, teaches kids if they go "Chihuahua crazy" with the same energy level as that little dog, attackers should get the message.

"It's definitely something that goes around where you want them to know how to handle themselves and know where to go to get help," said Mary Collins, who brought her daughter to the class.

By the end of the session, even some of the more timid students started to show confidence. It's a feeling Sebens hopes sticks with them regardless of what life throws their way.

Sebens also teaches classes for adult women. She's almost done getting certified to teach children.

To find out more about the program, click here.
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