The Rape Aggression Defense System at Eastern Michigan University are offering free classes on realistic self-defense tactics and techniques that began Monday, Oct. 25, and will continue for the next six weeks.
The course for women at EMU’s Recreation/Intramural Sports building begins with awareness, prevention, and avoidance, then moves toward hand-to-hand defense training.
“We want to give women more options to defend themselves,” Cathy Wilman, EMU Police Department’s community relations officer, said in an email.
Alongside the EMU police department, Wilman oversees the program and is the lead instructor. They teach as a team, and all instructors are certified in RAD, Wilman said.
According to the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, women attending college ages 18-24 are three times more likely to be sexually assaulted. Women of the same age who are not attending college are four times more likely to be assaulted than other women. This is one of the reasons the class is open to non-EMU students as well and will soon also be offered to men, Wilman said.
“There is so much great and practical self-defense information out there and we want to make sure anyone who wants to take steps to increase their personal safety can,” Wilman said.
Self-defense isn’t just about the techniques used, it’s about recognizing the threat early and doing what can be done to avoid it, Wilman said.
“The class helped me understand how to properly defend myself and present myself when potentially faced with danger,” Haley Bell, a student at EMU, said in an email.
It is never someone’s fault if they are sexually assaulted, Wilman said. Rape happens because of rapists, and RAD is offered to help individuals have more ways to protect themselves from someone wanting to harm them, she said.
The class usually meets once a week for about two hours and runs for six weeks, ending Nov. 29. To get more information about the class or to sign up, contact Cathy Wilman at 734-487-0987 or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.