Univeristy police helps women learn to defend themselves

Rape Aggression Defense Systems, mostly commonly known as RAD aims to fight the statistics and reduce the victimization of women.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resources Center, 91 percent of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female and one in five women will be raped at some point in their life.

RAD is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques taught by the University Police Department. Classes are usually held at least once every semester, sometimes more, depending on demand. The class is a two day process consisting of three phases. The first phase is a lecture, where UPD instructors educate women about prevention and recognition of crimes against them. The second phase is physical techniques, where students begin hands-on training. The third phase is the opportunity to practice, and the students can try out the techniques on instructors, who wear protective gear specifically designed for training. This phase puts the students in a dynamic environment, simulating events where they would have to utilize the techniques learned through the course.

The first phase also focuses on informing women about the myths surrounding sexual assault among other crimes the media might present and the unpredictability they should be aware of.

“The first four hours is classroom, and we talk about risks,” said UPD Lieutenant Patrick Gipson. “We talk about what really are the risks versus what you might believe risks to be based upon TV and the media because there is a good bit of misinformation of ideas and myths. Folks have this idea when they think of rape and assault. They have this play in their head where they are visualizing what is occurring. Most times what they are visualizing has nothing to do with how these types of situations occur.”

The class mainly focuses on prevention and recognition, meaning learning about the behaviors and situations that might occur before a crime is about to take place. The physical techniques learned in this program are meant to be a last resort if prevention is no longer an option.

“You can’t control if somebody wants to commit a crime,” said Gipson. “You can’t control how somebody else thinks; however, if you can help prevent that opportunity from arising, then, you can prevent the crime. You can control what you do. The third party of the triangle is the victim, the person who is targeted. We can control our own behavior and make it harder for someone to select one of us as a victim.”

According to Gipson, one of the biggest prevention tips is planning ahead.

“Planning ahead, thinking about what is likely going to happen, what is possible and what can I do to stop it,” said Gipson. “[For example] if you know that you are coming home after dark, leave the light on when you leave the house. Many criminals don’t want to commit a crime when they think someone might see them doing it. Extra lighting, crowds and people around makes it much harder to do something to somebody else when they don’t want other people to know about it.”

Other tips included how one identifies themselves on the phone or at the door of one’s house, such as making it appear multiple people are home versus only one.

Even though it is a known fact men are sexually assaulted and are victimized, this is a class solely geared for women. This is due to the class being geared in a way that meets women’s specific needs.

“There are other self defense classes out there for men, but this isn’t one,” said Gipson. “The techniques that we teach, when we get out of the classroom and are learning about physical techniques, they are designed based upon research in how women are attacked and how they can defend themselves physically, which is entirely different on how men are attacked and how they can defend themselves physically. Most of the information we give would not be helpful for a man because it is not based on research on how men are attacked. Women’s bodies work differently; women have different strengths than men. There are a lot of things we go over in the class that are specific to women.”

The class is offered to both students and faculty. The next class for RAD will be Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15. The class is free with a limited seating capacity. To sign up, email Gipson at [email protected]