Program helps girls fend of sex assault

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ALBION, N.Y. (WIVB) - A teenager who's on a cross-country crusade to raise awareness about sexual assault brought her message to Albion.

Dallas Jessup originally made a video about self-defense to show 600 students in her school. Monday, her self-defense techniques are spreading wordwide through a program called "Just Yell Fire."

The statistics for sexual assault in the United States is sobering. One in four teenage girls will be the victim of sexual assault, and there are close to 600,000 registered sex offenders in this country.

Dallas Jessup, who is an expert martial artist, has been advocating against sexual assault since she was 13 by teaching women self defense techniques. She started a program called, "Just Yell Fire" five years ago.

Jessup explained, "Just Yell Fire is all about teaching girls how to fight back when they are in a bind."

And since then, the program has reached one million girls in 48 countries. She began the program because of sexual predators in her hometown.

"There was two attempted abductions in my hometown that were on the news. After coming home, my mom TIVO'ed the footage and showed it to me, and I watched that going that could have been any single girl," recalled Jessup.

And on Monday she came to Albion to teach her award-winning self-defense program to young WNY girls.

Jessup explained, "It's not about bringing the larger attacker down to the ground, bleeding. It's about getting those two to three seconds to get yourself out of there. A strategic eye jab, a strategic ear pull. Now this is a situation where if you really need to, you can push up, pull down, and while your pulling down, put your head down so that their face crashes into your skull."

Michayla Kovaleski said, "You have to learn it so that if it ever did happen to you, you know it."

Jessup's reasoning for screaming "fire" instead of help is because it peaks peoples self-interest more. She reasons people want to know where the fire is, and at the same time, it draws attention to your attacker.

"Just Yell Fire" is recognized as America's most effective teen safety program. For more information on the program, follow this link .