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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2018

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Rape aggression defense program returns to campus this fall semester

BY NEPHTHALIE LAUTURE

The University of Mary Washington campus police will once again offer the Rape Aggression Defense Program (R.A.D.) to all female students, faculty and staff, free of charge.

The classes will take place in the Woodard Campus Center Red Room from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m on Sept. 25, Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. The class will teach women how to safely remove themselves from potentially harmful situations.

Dr. Nicole Surething, a certified R.A.D. instructor and director of counseling and psychological services elaborated on some of the program’s key points.

“It’s a minimum of nine hours, but you can do up to twelve,” said Surething. “We talk about basic information.We talk about stereotypes, how to carry your keys, how to walk to your car. Real simple things we don’t think about.”

R.A.D. was founded by Lawrence N. Nadeau in 1989. Since it began, approximately 900,000 women nationwide have participated in the course. Although the students of the program are predominantly women, R.A.D. also offers classes for men, senior citizens and children. The program bases itself around four basic principles: risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition and risk avoidance.

“I’ve been a police officer almost thirteen years. Prior to that I was military,” said R.A.D. instructor Sgt. William Somers. “Throughout my military career, and police career I’ve always taught self defense. I think it’s a great, great, training tool for female students on campus, along with the outside community of UMW. Everyone needs it.”

The program provides female students with a sense of independence and empowerment, allowing them to become privy of their surroundings.

“I think it’s important for everyone to learn self defense. It will help you for the rest of your life,” said Kate Richetti, a senior english and geography double major.

Although Jasmine Rice, a junior business major feels a sense of security on the UMW campus, she understands that there are still risks and precautions she must take.

“I always tend to feel safe on Mary Washington’s campus. However, that does not mean things do not happen. It just means I have not seen them,” said Rice. “Programs like R.A.D. need to be implemented and used regularly, and it would also be great if we could see a lot more of campus police sitting in areas on campus during night hours, just as we do during day hours.”

Rice also believes that the advancement in technology today can add to the security of the students.

“It would even be great if our university could work with the computer science department and maybe create an app that links us to the emergency networks on campus with just a click of a button,” said Rice.

For more information about R.A.D. and how to register, contact the University of Mary Washington Police.