RAD courses aim to protect women against sexual assault
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Along with UTEP’s goal of promoting campus safety, the UTEP Police Department has started offering Rape Aggression Defense courses that enable women to learn defense techniques when encountered with an aggressor.
The RAD program was established in 1989 by Lawrence Nadeau, who saw a need for safety in the community, said Sergeant Allison Valles at the UTEP Police Department. It focuses on crime prevention and giving women the ability to acquire self-defense education by developing their skills and enhancing the options available to them.
“The program right now is first come, first serve to the students. Then we offer it to the staff and faculty and then to anyone else after that,” Valles said. “We do have an age limit, which is 14 years.”
The next class will be held from 4 - 8 p.m. from Nov. 7 – 9, at the Police Department and the 12 hours are mandatory. Snacks and water are provided, as well as the manual that is needed for completion of the course. A medical form must also be filled out, should the participant have a prior injury or medical condition that training could interfere with.
Sessions officially began on Oct. 4, but because of the lack of attendance, organizers decided to take the following sessions one at a time, only making accommodations based on the amount of women registered.
“There is an interest in the program but it is probably the time constraints as to why we are not getting as many participants as we would like,” said Bertha Reza, senior public safety officer for the UTEP PD. “These are skills that once they are learned, you may not remember everything, but they will allow you to get away. Something will click in that moment.”
Aside from UTEP, the nearest locations that offers the RAD program are at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of New Mexico.
“There are other programs, RAD for Kids, RAD for Men and RAD for Seniors, but we are not certified for any of those yet. We will be offering RAD for Men in the near future,” Valles said.
According to Valles, there are a number of underreported cases of rape, especially on campus. This may be due to embarrassment of the situation, the hassle of going to the courts, or the mere stereotype that follows it.
“This program is good for everybody because at some point we will all know someone who has been assaulted—a daughter, sister or someone close to them,” Reza said.
The RAD program allows women to learn the skills to escape a potential attack. The UTEP Police Department also offers the service of escorting anyone to their vehicle should they feel unsafe.
“This particular program helps to empower women through education, decision making and the realization of their physical power,” Valles said. “It is very important that women learn these techniques because knowing that they can do something makes them confident; these skills are proven to work.”
Currently, there are nine instructors for this program— five females and four males. Only the females take part in the physical activity, while the male instructors cannot touch the participants. Instead, they are the aggressors used for training the women.
The instructors are not in uniform when teaching this course, but instead are in warm-ups or workout clothes in order to establish a common ground with the participants.
They also offer referrals to the El Paso Shelter for Battered Women if a participant reaches out or needs additional help.
The Police Department plans to offer this course for credit but will need more participants before doing so, along with feedback from the students for a more appropriate time to conduct these classes.
“Once you are certified, you can go anywhere and retrain yourself as needed. You just need to take your manual as proof,” Reza said.
Students, faculty, staff or the public can email Sergeant Allison Valles at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sergeant Luis Martinez at email@example.com, for more information about the RAD program or on how to register for the classes.
Lorain Watters may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.