RAD course: Free. Empowerment: Priceless.
by Christina DiGasbarro
Knowing that you can defend yourself effectively, even against someone twice your size, is a pretty nice feeling of empowerment.
I recently gained this feeling by taking an RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) course on campus. It was taught by four awesome members of our Public Safety department. The course was for women only, although RAD, which is a nation-wide program, does have classes for men and for learning advanced defensive skills too.
The point of this RAD course is, obviously, to teach women how to defend themselves in case, heaven forbid, they are ever attacked. The great thing about RAD, though, is that the instructors don’t tell you that you have to do x, y, and z—instead, they teach you many different skills and techniques so that you know what your options for fighting back are and you know how to employ them effectively (without injuring yourself at the same time). They don’t even tell you that you have to fight back, though by the time you finish the course, you’re more than capable of doing so. Most of the class-time is spent learning defensive moves, and the class culminates in simulations of attacks. Or, I should say, simulations of attempted attacks, because by that point, each and every person in the class is able to fight off the attackers, using her own preferred set of moves, and get away to safety.
While it’s a rather sad statement on society and/or human nature that there’s a need for these classes in the first place, every woman should know how to defend herself. It won’t end sexual violence—we’ve got a long, long way to go before that happens—but it will help reduce the number of victims in the meantime. And it honestly provides a huge sense of confidence and empowerment.
If any of you girls are interested in RAD, they’re offering another course in April for three hours a night on Mondays. The instructors are great, the class is fun, and it is absolutely worth the 12 hours of your life to develop these skills. And it’s free—the University pays for it. Furthermore, once you’ve taken the course once, you can go again to any RAD course in the country to dust off and practice your skills for free. If you’re interested, check out the fliers around campus or the info on Point, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up. (But don’t wait too long, or else the class might already be full!)