Department of Public Safety's Candace Dorsey to hold rape defense class

Eastern Michigan University’s Department of Public Safety’s Officer Candace Dorsey will be holding three self-defense classes for female faculty, staff and students in November.

The class is called Rape Aggression Defense Systems, also known as RAD. It will be held on Monday evenings from 6- 9 p.m. The scheduled days are the 11th, 18th and 25th. It is a one-time only, free class.

“The premise is to teach our ladies basic skills on how to fight back, should they choose to fight back,” Dorsey said. “The class is designed for that unplanned, unknown, unsolicited attack. If they decide to fight back, we want them to run afterwards.”

RAD promotes self-empowerment for women and provides them with self-defense options before and during dangerous situations. RAD utilizes many self-defense approaches including body mechanics, physical fitness, muscle memory and confidence. RAD teaches women the basics of self-defense of many attackers, but primarily sexual assaults. A person interested in signing up doesn’t have to be physically fit or a certain height or weight to take the class. The class is designed for those women who do not have any defensive-skill training.

“We want our ladies more confident,” Dorsey said. “We’re building on self-confidence and self-esteem. We want them to be comfortable with saying no and using your voices. There’s a mental piece we incorporate when we fight as women. When we feel threatened, and when we feel scared, we’re fearing one thing as women. Guys don’t fear the same thing. They’re not fearing that they’re going to be violated in some way. Women mostly feel like they’re going to be violated in some way.
So that’s what the class was designed for.”

Although the defense mechanisms taught in the class are primarily focused on those people who are not acquaintances, the techniques can be used at that time as well. The class itself is designed to teach about the situations people are not prepared for.

“I always tell the girls in the class, you go out with this great guy, he looks good, he smells good, he’s everything you think he is and then he turns into a monster,” she said. “What do you do with that? It’s not man-bashing. We don’t man-bash – it’s not an anti-male class. This is about women learning skills to better defend themselves.”

Dorsey said that even with all of the self-defense that can be learned there is no guarantee that an assault can be stopped. She also said that the class focuses on the mind-set and the decision to fight back and the decision to resist. Dorsey has been teaching the class for about 16 years.

“With everything going on and people expressing their concerns about safety, I felt like I had to put another class on,” Dorsey said.

She said the free classes run consecutively.

“We’ll learn four or five skills on day one and then build on those skills on day two and we’ll build from that on day three,” she said. “Folks need to attend. It’s not a one-session course. I need them to attend all three courses.”

Dorsey calls the class her “baby.”

“It’s nothing like watching that woman come through the door the first day,” she said. “She’s walking forward with her head down and when she leaves, those shoulders are back, her head is up and she’s looking around at everybody. There’s nothing like seeing that transition that takes place with our students.”

EMU student and social work major Maya Thottakath said the classes and would benefit those students living on campus.

“People who live on campus and stay in the environment,” she said. “It’s great to offer the to opportunity to feel protected.”

Thottakath also said it wasn’t really of significance to her because she does not stay on campus.
EMU student and biology major and chemistry minor Rose Marshall said she would be interested in taking the classes.

“It’s long overdue,” Marshall said of the program. She also said that targeting students who live on- and off-campus would be good. Something would need to be done to reel people in to the sessions.

Those who want to participate in the free class must do so by registering online by emailing Officer Dorsey at The deadline to register is Nov. 2, 2013.

During EMU’s 2014 winter semester, classes will be offered for the seven-week course and will provide students with one credit hour. The course is also LBC approved. Dorsey said the credit classes are filling up so much that she has had to give some students overrides to attend.

The 7-week course is listed below for the winter 2014 semester:

_Rape Aggression Defense Systems (RAD) @ EMU

PEGN #157, Special Topics

CRN #25567, 1 Credit Hour

January 6, 2014—February 21, 2014

Monday and Wednesday evenings—5:30-7:10 p.m.

Warner Building, Gym B_

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