Five years ago Emerald Barkley, center, was attacked and nearly raped. She escaped but afterward decided to learn how to defend herself. "One out of four women have to deal with it," she says. "It's not the end of the world, and there's things you can do to overcome the experience and prevent it from happening again."
On a late Wednesday night, Barkley focuses intensely on learning pencak silat, an Indonesian martial art taught by firefighter Rocky Twichell, at left above. His pencak silat lessons are offered free to women.
Having been bullied himself as a child, Twichell says, he hates injustice, especially against elderly people, women and children. "If I can teach a student, especially a woman, to stand her ground or fend off an attacker from being raped, beaten or manipulated, I feel I'm doing a great service to that person and the community," he says.