ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – When clients were attacked outside of Invictus Gym, they took steps to make a change.
In the last month, gym owner Rick Mitchell says around four of his clients were assaulted. This is the type of feeling Crystal Anderson has experienced.
At 17 years old, she was raped by a family friend. Once she was finally able to move pass that traumatizing experience, it happened again.
“There was a gathering and someone drugged my drink. I was gang raped that night,” she said.
Ashley Remy has had a lifelong struggle with being bullied.
“Particularly in middle school, I was always picked on, and I was sexually harassed,” she said.
It was these incidents that finally made these women decide enough is enough. They took control of their lives again by learning how to defend themselves with Mitchell at Invictus Gym.
“A lot of them come in here and they feel more confident and more empowered when they’re leaving because they’ve learned something new that will potentially save their life,” said Mitchell.
Since being more proactive on learning how to defend themselves, Anderson and Remy say it’s given them the confidence they always wanted.
“A sense of relief essentially because I had gone from being laughed at, all these guys were on my back, to essentially becoming their instructor,” said Remy.
“I’m not scared anymore to walk alone at night. I’m not scared to walk to my car, you know in a garage,” said Anderson.
Mitchell says the most important lesson he teaches all his clients is, every single confrontation you can avoid, is one you’ll win.
Invictus Gym’s self-defense class is available free to the general public. Some techniques taught include how to not be seen as a victim, how to de-escalate a situation, and how to physically protect yourself from an attack.