Women's Self Defense Classes Are Coming to Georgia Southern

Michelle Pratt

It is 2 a.m. and you are stumbling through campus to get back to your apartment after a fun night out at some bars. Dark tree limbs framing the walkway move silently with the cool breeze. As the wind howls like a wolf would cry to the moon, you feel a chill run up your spine.
Suddenly you hear a twig snap and before you can spin around, a tight firm hand is smacked across your mouth. You can feel his hot breath breathing down your neck as he whispers to you not to scream. You try to beg him not to hurt you as he drags your flailing body through the bushes and slams you up against a cold, rough wall.
At this moment you try to fight off your attacker, but he is too strong for you, and you do not know the right technique to bring him to his knees.
Moments like these are far from being considered nightmares. They are real situations that can occur at any moment, and in order to face them, it is imperative to have tactics.  A new self-defense program coming to Georgia Southern University will help teach women how to defend themselves from potential attackers.
The program is called Rape Aggression Defense System, or R.A.D.
The director of the program, Dr. Jodi Caldwell, who is the Counseling Center Chair and a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team at Georgia Southern University, is confident that this new National program will help young women become prepared for sexual violence situations.

“[R.A.D] is a national program and the majority of our instructors are also law enforcement officers that have voluntarily gone through the training,” Caldwell said.

Georgia Southern University Police system is very active with the counseling center in helping educate about sexual violence and assault.
“We have great university police, I can tell you that a lot of university campuses do not have a police department like we have,” Caldwell said, “They are very active with sexual violence education.”
The first step in this program is to educate the women about sexual violence. It focuses on more than just Martial Arts; it also allows personal growth for the women who go through the course.
The program has not only a hands on class you take, but you also are given a pamphlet where you are taught safety precautions, and warning signs too look out for.
“We have a portion where we sit you down and its actually a booklet type pamphlet that will show you the basics of what we will be discussing and going over,” said one of the training officers, Officer Tangy Reese-Johnson. “There is also a test at the end for the classroom setting and the demonstration setting you must pass in order to get credit for the class.”
According to the R.A.D. program’s official website, “The R.A.D. System is a comprehensive, women-only course that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training.”
This National program has trained over 300,000 women since it was founded in 1989, and is the only program that has a free lifetime return and practice policy.
“This program will not be a RAC program per say, but we may hold our classes there,” Caldwell said.
Investigator Danny Garrigus, one of the four R.A.D. instructors said that there are two possible locations that the classes may be held at.
“Typically we have [R.A.D. classes] held in the Bishop Building or the dance studio at the RAC because you have to have a certain type of flooring.
As of right now, the R.A.D program does not have any specific dates, but they are hoping to start the program up this semester.
Garrigus is hoping to have the classes start as soon as possible. He is waiting to get certified in one last area so the women can train hands on with someone in a ‘red suit’, which is a fully padded suit an instructor will wear. They will act as an attacker and the women have to use the skills they learned in the course to defend themselves.
“If we are trained to operate in the red man suit and we can actually do drills that then the young ladies are actually given the ability to use everything that they have been trained in a series of three different trials.” Garrigus said. “That’s the main reason why we are holding off now until we get those certifications.”
Keep a lookout on campus and updates from the Public Safety office on when the program will start accepting students.