UPD program teaches defense against rape

As reports of sexual assaults around campus increase this year, female students and community members continue to have the opportunity to learn how to prevent and defend themselves in rape situations.

The Rape Aggression Defense program, a national program started in Massachusetts, is being offered by the University Police and Recreation Programs for the third straight year.

Sgt. Gene Burton and Det. Kent Kurtz, who serve as instructors, said the RAD program teaches women both preventive and defensive measures.

"It's not only hands on, practical self-defense techniques in case they're in an attack situation," Burton said, "but also some risk avoidance techniques."

Some of the preventive measures Burton mentioned included teaching women to use and trust their senses and to stay aware of what is happening around them in all situations.

As for physical defense techniques, Burton said the program teaches what parts of the body a woman should strike if assaulted.

The program teaches these techniques in a 15-hour course, which Kurtz said is broken up into five classes, each three hours in length.

During the first class, Kurtz said, women learn exactly what a sexual assault is and what laws relate to it. The next three nights defensive moves are taught, he said. The last night is a simulated attack by an instructor who is padded for protection.

"They have a chance to apply what they've learned the previous three nights," Kurtz said.

Once women have completed the course, he said, they can go anywhere in the country and receive updated instruction for free.

"What happens is once you graduate from the program, you get a book, and it's signed by one of us as a certified instructor," Kurtz said. "All they have to do is just take that book and show (other program instructors) that they've graduated from the program, and it will never cost them again."

Kurtz said because of donations given by Housing and Residence Life, all female students living on-campus can take the course for free. He also said off-campus women could have received the same incentive, but Student Government Association would not donate money to the program.

SGA President Tommy Rector said funding would not be given to the program because co-sponsorship guidelines prohibit giving money to programs that are not open to all students.

Burton said the group that founded RAD started a similar program for males during the summer. However, he said he is not sure if UPD will bring that program to campus.

Rector said if UPD would present both the RAD program and the program for males to the student senate together, SGA could help sponsor them because they would apply to the entire student population.

Kurtz said some female students participate in the program, as well as female staff members on campus, but few women from the community take advantage of it. He also said residence assistants took the course before this semester began.

Burton said the RAD program has a lot to offer those who take it.

"They come away not only with the self-confidence, but the understanding that there is more than one option in an attack situation," Burton said. "They do have something they can do. They don't have to panic, and there is a way to get out of it. That's what we're trying to get across to them."


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