While working in San Francisco at 22 years old, Liberty Private Security, Inc. & Training Academy president Ashley Cahill vividly remembers the night where she was followed into an abandoned parking lot by someone she did not know.
“I felt very fortunate that I grew up in a law enforcement family and that I was given the knowledge on what to do to protect myself,” said Ashley Cahill, “but there are a lot of women who have no clue what to do if they are faced with that situation.”
Alongside her father, Larry Cahill, who is the founder and CEO of the private security company and who has also held a law enforcement career for over 25 years, Ashley Cahill decided to use that incident as motivation to start offering women’s self-defense workshops.
“It’s a big reason as to why I want to do this and why my dad is so supportive of this too,” said Ashley Cahill. “During these workshops, you get the perspective of an everyday woman like myself, and then you get the perspective of someone like my dad who has been out on the streets and knows what people need to do in order to protect themselves.”
At the company’s first official “Women’s Self-Defense, Level 1 & 2” workshop, the Cahills will teach participants first and foremost to be aware.
“That’s really the key component,” said Ashley Cahill. “You want to avoid at all costs even getting yourself into a dangerous situation. What you do to protect yourself from even having to use self-defense will be a big focus of the workshop.”
However, if women do find themselves in a situation that merits self defense, the workshop will also provide instruction on loosening techniques, such as how to get out of someone’s grip, and striking techniques that can be employed in order to get away.
“Our focus is not like martial arts, where we want you to stay and fight,” said Ashley Cahill. “The focus is to do what you need to do to get away and escape.”
Women will not be the only ones benefitting from the private security company’s workshops, as the father-daughter duo also aims to provide workshops for children, teens, and college-aged students.
At the “Back-to-School Safety Workshop,” children will learn the basics, such as knowing their parent’s names and cell phone numbers, how to use safe words to know that they can trust a certain adult, how to report unknown or suspicious adults, and designating safe spots where they can go if they feel as if someone is following them.
“It’s not just a matter of what the kids are learning, we’ve got to teach parents about the reality of today’s society,” said Larry Cahill. “As parents, we have to be more aware. We can’t be placing our children in danger.”
Teens will be the focus of the “Fight like a Girl” workshop, which will teach basic self-defense moves, but will focus primarily on internet safety.
“That’s the number one place that a predator can look,” said Ashley Cahill, “so we’re going to teach them to not to post any personal information like where they live online or not to add people they don’t know personally to their friends list.”
During “Campus Safety 101,” college-aged students will get the opportunity to learn how to take advantage of the resources that are made available to them on campus, such as campus police and emergency notifications, in order to stay safe on and off campus.
“I can’t count the number of girls I knew that were either in domestic violence situations, girls that had date rape drugs put into their drinks or girls that drank too much at parties and then blacked out only to wake up in a stranger’s bedroom,” said Ashley Cahill. “These are situations you think won’t happen to me or to anybody I know until it happens.”
Overall, Larry Cahill hopes that these workshops will not only teach individuals how to protect themselves in dangerous situations, but will also raise public awareness.
“Most of the public feel that they are living in a constantly safe environment, but that is not always true,” said Larry Cahill. “We feel that it is our responsibility to make people aware. Our primary function is public safety.”
The women’s self-defense class is set for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 25. The Back to School workshop will be on Sept.9, and the teen safety workshop will be Sept. 23. The Campus Safety 101 class will be held Sept. 30. Times have yet to be determined for the last three workshops.
Liberty Private Security, Inc. & Training Academy is located at 845 S. Kilroy Road. For more information or to register for a workshop, call 250-1780 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.