Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. One in four college women will be sexually assaulted during their college careers. Rape is never about sex. It’s about control. It’s about having power. Preventing rape is about not relinquishing that power. But how do you do that?

Learn to defend yourself.

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) is a program that teaches you how to defend yourself in a variety of situations, allowing you to escape your attacker, and get to safety.

I attended the Basic Physical Defense sessions (offered to all female students, faculty, and staff for free) lead by Campus Safety Assistant Director Holly Parker and Officer Chad Bryant on September 12 and 13.

On day one, we started with a classroom presentation. Instructors Parker and Bryant went over statistics and definitions, and showed a few short videos. We learned the general philosophy of the program, and the vulnerable areas to target.

After lunch, we went down to the dance room to learn defensive stances and some skills.We learned the difference between cautious contact, the warning stance, and the defensive stance.We blocked and parried. We threw punches, kicks, knees, and elbows. We learned the moves first, then practised on padding (I learned I’m pretty good at kneeing the pads in the “stomach”).

On day two, we learned how to get out of various holds and how to throw someone off you if you’re lying down. We also combined the blocks and attacks we learned on day one into long strings of defensive maneuvers.

After practicing all our new moves on the pads, we got to the fun part: scenarios. This consisted of each of us getting to beat up on Officer Bryant. (Don’t worry, he’s still okay)

We enacted four different scenarios that we might find ourselves in at some point in real life, and got to use any of the moves we had learned in a sort of freestyle.

Our scenarios were video recorded, so afterwards we gathered back in the classroom for pizza and review.

In learning how to defend myself and to say no, I find I now have more confidence. (Although I’m afraid that now, after training to respond to the instructor’s cues by saying no and delivering a punch or kick, that whenever someone asks me if I am “ready” I will reply with a resounding “No!”)

The next RAD Basic Physical Defense class is scheduled for November 7 and 8.  If you are interested in attending, email Holly at hparker@paulsmiths.edu.