Collette O’Neal (Whetstone staff writer)

Fighting back was the lesson given to students in the third FYE lecture this semester.

Students filled Welles Theater to see “Students Fight Back” on Oct. 4.

“An attacker can be anyone,” said Jamie Langton, speaker and self-defense instructor for Fight Back Productions. “Not just the tall, hooded guy that drives a black van in the middle of the night.”

Langton said the three most important steps to fighting back includes trusting your intuition, being a good bystander, and kicking butt when you need to.

“I thought it was very informative,” said Kristen Bradley, a freshman. “I feel like now I can defend myself if I need to. I definitely plan to take self-defense classes in the future.”

Fight Back Productions was founded by Erin Weed in 2002, after her friend, Shannon McNamara, was murdered. It has been featured on CNN, Fox News, CBS and NBC.

McNamara was killed in her apartment near Eastern Illinois University by a man who lived across the street, said a website dedicated to her memory. (

She fought back against her killer and “was able to collect enough evidence to capture and convict” the man.

“I think the most important lesson we all need to learn how to look out for each other,” Langton said. “If we could do that, then there would be no reason to fight.”

The company also has a website where students can buy self-defense tools such as pepper spray, small alarm systems, books and jewelry.