Clarke County

Sheriff’s office holds women’s safety workshop in wake of Laken Riley’s murder on UGA campus

CLARKE COUNTY, Ga. — Some women in Athens are taking steps to protect themselves after nursing student Laken Riley was murdered recently on the UGA campus.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office hosted a women’s safety workshop on Sunday.

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Jan Hudgins is a businesswoman who often works alone. She said she has always been ready to protect herself, but she’s ready to take it to the next level with the workshop.

“Not so much to be afraid all the time, but be aware. Know what’s going on around you,” Hudgins said.

Sheriff John Williams told Channel 2 Action News that he wanted to empower women so they don’t have to live in fear of being a victim of crime.

“We’ve done this in the past, we actually for the first time did it about a year ago,” Williams said.

But the desire for women to learn how to protect themselves has grown over the past month after Riley was killed while out on a mid-day run on UGA’s campus.

“This I think hit home because it hadn’t happened in a long time,” Hudgins said.


In Sunday’s class, the women learned from deputies and community leaders about precautions, communication, but also received hands-on training.

So they are ready if they find themselves in the face of danger.

“I think this should always be something that goes on whether or not a tragedy has happened,” Margaret McCallister told Channel 2. “I think this has definitely brought more awareness of what we need to be doing.”

“Building I guess confidence within the ladies that are taking this class,” the sheriff said. “We give them that extra sense of hope so they know they can survive a situation. They have all these tools on their belt.

For Hudgins, the class left her feeling better prepared.

“I need to feel confident and taking things like this will increase my confidence to better protect myself.”

The women’s safety workshop is free but limited to 25 participants. Clarke County will host another workshop on April 20.

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