The United States has one of the highest rape rates in the world, with one out of three women having been a sexual assault victim, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.
As a result, a new class is being offered on campus to educate women on how to defend themselves and the risk factors involved with sexual assault.
The Rape Aggression Defense class is a free safety program offered by the FAMU Police Department to teach self-defense tactics and techniques to women.
The course consists of four phases: lectures, self-defense techniques, reviewing and simulation. It teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance, while progressing to hands-on defense training. Classes are usually nine to 12 hours, and are split up over three to four days.
Instructor for the women-only class and Officer Sherri Luke said she focuses on trusting one’s first instincts, because it is usually the right one. She also teaches empowerment to the women, and said that being educated brings power.
“I just want the best for women,” Luke said.
Besides teaching self-defense, the program also dispels safety myths, such as the usage of pepper spray, and whether living on campus is safer than off-campus living.
“If someone is about to attack you, do you think you’re going to have time to dig through your purse to get the pepper spray?” Luke asked.
Angela Mosley, a senior public relations student from Pompano Beach, said she would be interested in taking the course because it is essential to the safety of women when being attacked.
“I feel that sexual assault is a subject that every female should know about,” Mosley said. “We all should know how to defend ourselves when faced with attacks.”
Graduates of the program are expected to leave with a defensive mind set that they will survive. Luke said not every woman under attack will be able to escape, but enrolling in the class will help deal with getting through.
“RAD is there when you give up and become a victim,” she said. “We teach you that you can still survive.”
Veronica Valery, a freshman occupational therapy student from Pompano Beach, is a recent RAD graduate.
“This program is important because it gives you a sense of knowing you can defend yourself,” she said.
Luke, who used to investigate sex crimes in Jacksonville, is willing to work around the schedules of all women who are interested in the course.
Although the class is only for women, a RAD for men and children will be offered in the future. An exact date is yet to be determined.
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