CALGARY — The murder of a young Calgary mother has prompted a local woman to take action to protect others.
Christa Cachene, 26, was beaten to death in her Ranchlands home in October.
This weekend, her aunt organized a self-defence class aimed at helping other women.
“Things have to change for our people. Especially our aboriginal women, indigenous women. It has to change somehow, someway. And I am hoping this class will help encourage them to kind of push themselves. There is something better out there. They don’t have to take this,” said Betty Ann Blue Cloud.
Blue Cloud has been taking Kung Fu classes at Damerji’s Martial Arts Academy in northeast Calgary for years.
Her niece’s death prompted her to approach the studio’s owner to offer a day of free instruction.
“I know many stories from Betty about women who don’t know how to protect themselves. I said, ‘we can help. We can work together to make the women be able to protect themselves,’” said Hussein Damerji, who is a three time world champion in Wuhsu Kung Fu.
Women attending the class are keen to learn the Kung Fu and to be part of an event in Cachene’s memory.
“It affects all families. It affects the men just as much is the women, so I think it has a lot to do with education. Educating our boys and our sons and our husbands,” said Janet Graham.
Blue Cloud hopes everyone can learn something from Cachene’s death. She is encouraging people to support vulnerable women and let them know there is help available.
“If somebody would’ve taken the time to talk to her, had someone discuss things with her, just talked with her to make her aware that this is not right,” said Blue Cloud. “We, as mothers and aunts and grandmothers, should take the time as women to talk to people. Take that extra one or two minutes or whatever it takes to talk to another person, whoever you come across that needs that help. Don’t get so overwhelmed by other stuff in life. That moment is there for you to help that person.”
While the women at the class were happy to learn defensive techniques against attackers, Blue Cloud says what really needs to change is the behavior that puts women in fearful positions in the first place.
“It’s not right for you to think that it’s OK to be physically violent or physically trying to hurt a female. There is a reason why we are here. And it’s not for you to harm us. We have so much to offer.”
Isaiah Riel Rider, 18, of Calgary has been charged with second degree murder. Police say he was a guest at the party held at Cachene’s home the day she was killed.