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Rape defense aids students

staff writer

Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 12:02



For women wanting to create a safer future for themselves, USU offers the RAD program.

“It’s an acronym for Rape Aggression Defense,” said Sgt. Joseph Huish, a USU police officer who has been part of the program for over ten years. “Typically it’s a self defense course for woman only.”

Sometimes girls are put into situations they are not sure how to handle, and this class can help prepare them for this. 

“I have not been in an intense situation,” said Ashley Hall, a freshman majoring in interior design. “There are times I’ve felt super uncomfortable and wished I knew more about how to handle it if something escalated.” 

Some feel it is important to have classes to keep girls informed and ready for potentially dangerous situations.

“I haven’t because I took karate, but I think it is important to have the class,” said Tina Greening, a junior majoring in psychology. “Whether we like to admit it or not, the world is full of people that prey on the defenseless, even in Cache Valley.”

The class is held twice weekly with both classroom and demonstration sections. Certified police officers teach safety techniques. In the gym, they teach the girls the more physical aspect of safety.

“I tell people we teach girls how to fight dirty,” Huish said. “We teach them how to punch and kick, how to gouge eyes — whatever it takes to get away from a would be attacker.”

According to Huish, about 50 percent of the class is talking about ways to avoid problems, how to be safer and how to find the things to look for in a potential abductor. These are taught in the classroom part of the class. 

“We find that most of the time you can avoid the situations that would lead to the necessity of having to fight your way out of a bad situation,” Huish said. “In the classroom we teach them things to look out for, kind of red flags for people that might become assailants to them, things to make them safer, to make their homes safer. When they are traveling in their car and then just interaction out on dates, or when they are out by themselves late at night things that they can do.”

Small class sizes ensure each student gets the attention needed to learn how to protect herself. 

“We put a cap on the class of thirty just so we don’t have more than we can work closely with and mentor, so each semester we do thirty students,” Huish said. “In times past we have done two classes, so we have had as many as sixty students a  semester.”

Building the confidence for women is one reason some students feel like it is good to have RAD.

“Even if it is just for their confidence, feeling like they could know how to handle situation if it came up,” Hall said.

To be able to offer more classes, the campus police has been working on setting up an extra class for those unable to take the credited class currently offered. 

“We are kind of looking to do something that we haven’t done in a while,” Huish said. “That is to do an evening class for other people who could even be none students, or students who can’t free up their schedule enough to take our credited class through the PE department, and it’s a seven week course where we just meet one day a week for two hours.”

These classes could start as soon as March. The class is designed to empower the women who take it with feeling more confident and safe in life.  

“I’m sure that it keeps the kids that have taken it safer,” Huish said. “But more than just being safer, I think that they feel more confident. They feel less at risk when they are out and about.” 

Sergeant Huish said former students often come to him with experiences of having used the skills learned in his course.

“I had a girl come up to me at the last Aggie basketball game introduced herself as a former student,” said Huish. “I’m not sure how long ago she took it, but I think over the break she had been in Paris, France and somebody had tried to rob them. The way she described it, she was a beast and got all of her stuff back.”

Despite occurrences of women implementing physical skills learned, many former students choose to keep themselves safe in preventative ways.

“There are a few stories of success, but for the most part the girls are a little bit wiser and more careful than the average lady so they don’t get into one of those situations,” Huish said.

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