R.A.D. program offered

By Eli Rosenswaike, Collegian Staff

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With rape statistics climbing nationally, the University of Massachusetts Police Department is offering free defense classes to women on campus.

The program, known as R.A.D. [Rape Aggression Defense] is “designed to teach women about awareness, prevention, risk deduction and avoidance while progressing into the basics of hands-on defense training,” according to UMPD officials.

The FBI projects one out of every three women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. One forcible rape occurs every seven seconds in the United States; and an estimated 90 percent of them go unreported, according to the UMPD.

To help women become more knowledgeable and equipped to defend themselves, the course provides its students with both the educational and physical tools needed for a successful defense.

“R.A.D. is dedicated to teaching women defensive concepts and techniques against various types of assaults by utilizing easy, effective and proven self-defense tactics. This system of realistic defense will provide women with the knowledge to make an educated decision about resistance,” according to UMPD officials.

The R.A.D. system was created in 1989 and has successfully trained over 300,000 women all over the country. There are over 7,000 instructors certified to teach the course, who work primarily at colleges and universities in the United States.

According to the R.A.D. Web site, the instructional objective of the program is to “develop and enhance the options of self-defense, so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked.”

To help accomplish this goal, trained aggressors dress up in a protective suit, known as the “red suit,” and simulate an attack towards the woman – enabling the person being attacked to learn how to strike back and adequately defend themselves.

According to Deputy Police Chief Archbald, it’s the “most realistic scenario that the woman can have of being attacked and then defending themselves.”

The course acknowledges that each situation is different and that no definitive way to prevent a rape from occurring exists but still stresses that the program will help lessen the likelihood of one occurring – while also better preparing women if an attack were to take place.

“We’re always trying to encourage women to take the class,” Archbald said. “It’s a valuable class; we always like to have full attendance. We want woman to be able to objectively defend themselves, the more who show up the better from our perspective.”

The course is spread out over two weeks with four classes, which run from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. For those who can’t attend the first course, which starts today and runs until Sept. 27, a second course will be offered beginning on Oct. 16 and ending on Oct. 25.

“[Interested students] can go on to our website [www.rad-systems.com]; and on the website, is information about our next class and through the website they can connect with the instructors and become registered for the class,” said Archbald.

Eli Rosenswaike can be reached at [email protected]