By Brianna Bires
BANGOR, ME -A program that travels to different middle schools, high schools and universities to teach students to defend themselves was offered at Husson University. The course is called Rape Aggression Defense, or R.A.D.
R.A.D. is a diverse self defense class which provides different courses all over the United States. R.A.D. has over 11,000 instructors and have shown over 900,000 women how to defend themselves. The course that came to Husson was for women. They are the largest network of their kind. R.A.D. also has courses for the elderly, men, and young boys. The course is 12 hours and is free of charge and about a dozen young women at Husson attended the course.
Karen Grotten, the R.A.D. state director, was the instructor that came to Husson. She stressed the importance of a training course.
“To be willing to stand up and say, you do not have the right to hurt me and I’m going to stop you,” says Grotten. “That is what takes time.”
Grotten says she has traveled all over the united states training other men and women to be R.A.D. instructors.
Grotten also says that everything they do in the course, they do in a circle. she says confidence and believing you can stand up for yourself is key.
“The reason behind that is so that other women can watch each other do the techniques,” she says. “Because one of the principles that we are based on in learning theory is that if I see somebody I can identify myself with doing a technique I think if they can do it, I can do it.”
Amber Britton, a second year nursing major, says the course has allowed her to gain confidence defending herself.
“I think that it is important that everybody has self-defense skills because it is very possible you could be in a situation where you would need them,” says Britton.
Grotten notes one of her biggest concerns is teaching women how not to freeze and know how to get out of any situation.
Sierra Fortin, a second year physical therapy major, stressed the importance of being able to get out of any situation.
“I’m a resident assistant at Husson so I might have to go into situations that other people might not have too,” she says. “And you never know what you’re walking into. So, one reason. Plus I work late so in the parking lot you never know what to expect.”
Grotten stressed the importance of college students knowing how to defend themselves.
“We all tend to be scared of the dark, the unknown stranger that might approach us as we are walking across the parking lot,” says Grotten. “But then we go down the hallway and leave doors open and prop the door open because we think we know everybody in our dorms and don’t realize that there are more common threats that we don’t acknowledge.”
According to NCES.ed.gov in 2013, there were 27,600 criminal incidents against persons and property on campus at public and private 2-year and 4-year postsecondary institutions that were reported to police and security agencies, representing an 8 percent decrease from 2012 (29,800). Grotten says crimes tend to happen at night and so she tells her students to always use the buddy system when going places on campus at night. She always encourages students to carry pepper spray to help defend themselves.
Susan Carbon, Director of the Department of Justice told inclusive.com that even though the nation has seen a decrease in violent crime in the recent years, crime against women has actually increased rapidly. Carbons says that primarily domestic violent, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking continue to have a huge impact on women across the country.
According to inclusive.com, one in four women will experience severe physical violence by a spouse, boyfriend or significant other. Stalkers will victimizes approximately 5.2 million women with domestic violence related stalking being the most common. Also, one in five women will be raped in their lifetime with 1.3 million rapes being reported each year. While these figures are scary, most happen on college campuses and usually include drugs and alcohol. More that 80% of undetected college rapists reported committing rapes of women who were incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol. 60% happen at parties. An even scarier statistic is that only 2% of women that are raped actually report it to law enforcement. Grotten says “women can usually feel ashamed if they have been raped or assaulted. Maybe they feel it was their fault because of what they were wearing or maybe they were drinking. We always try and convince the girls that it is never their fault.”
The point of RAD is to help these statistics to decrease every year. The more women know how to defend themselves, the less likely of being attacked. Grotten also stresses the importance of knowing your resources on your campus. For example, have campus security saved on your phone so they are only a phone call away. Another would be know how to get ahold of local police. Also, have someone you know you can call if you need serious help and they will be there. Don’t be afraid to let someone know what happened.
To see if any R.A.D. courses are being offered in your area you can visit their web page or facebook page.