Accused rapist arrested; How to protect yourself

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POSTED: Thursday, January 8, 2009 - 8:36pm

UPDATED: Friday, December 10, 2010 - 4:16pm

BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) -- A man is in prison today, accused of rape. This unusual story demonstrates why it is crucial for women to learn how to protect themselves. Police say 49-year-old Maverick Lynn Kennedy broke into the victim's home early Monday morning. He apparently knew the woman after doing repairs on her home back in 2005. Authorities say Kennedy had been drinking when he walked to the woman's home, forced his way inside, and raped her.

NBC33's Lauren Unger sat in on a defense class Thursday led by a deputy from the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office and found out there are some simple ways to keep yourself a little safer. Knowing how to protect yourself in any situation is vital. It's something Bernice Hoffman's thought more about lately since her friend was mugged last week.

"She was in the Winn Dixie parking lot and then a gentleman approached her saying he had car trouble, then immediately reached for her handbag."

Her friend screamed and was able to get away, but for Hoffman, it was a wakeup call. Being careful starts at home.

Lt. Pauline Carter says, "At least 40% of women are sexually assaulted at home, in their homes."

She says your home has got to have these features to stay safe, "Double keyed locks, that's locks on both sides of your doors, every home should have a peephole, if you don't have one, they're very inexpensive, you should get one. Alarm systems are great."

And if someone attacks you, there are ways you can escape, kicking and swinging your arms. And of course, the advice offered here is just the tip of the iceberg.

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is offering a free 16 week course this spring and law enforcement agencies all around the area, including the Baton Rouge Police Department, also offer free self defense courses.