The TCU Police Department offered the first Rape Aggression Defense, or R.A.D., class over the weekend.
TCU Crime Prevention Officer Pam Christian said the program is a self-defense class for women only. The class educates women about sexual assault and gives techniques for defense.
Freshman journalism major Kelsey Fahler said she decided to sign up for R.A.D. because she was away from her parents for the first time. It was important to be able to have self-defense skills when young women are on their own, she said.
The class over the weekend had seven students enrolled. Christian said it was one of the smallest classes she has ever held. She had expected to fill the class because of students concerns with the recent sexual assaults, she said.
The three recent assaults have all been committed by a known acquaintance, according to police reports. 85 percent of all sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, Christian said.
She said she believed the class did not fill up because students do not think it will happen to them.
The R.A.D. class is 12 hours long, and is held over a two day period. Senior nursing major Britany Jack said time flies by because participants don’t realize how applicable everything is until they start doing it.
Christian said that the first two hours go over the R.A.D. curriculum. The class holds an open conversation to get to know one another, and is very accepting, she said.
The middle portion of the program is when students learn techniques and how to use them.
The final three hours are scenario training. Male officers dress up in padded suits to act out the scenarios, which allows the women to practice fighting them off and escaping.
Christian said the most important aspect of the scenario training is that it gives students time to respond with the information she has learned.
“The officers are there to teach her, not to hurt her. It helps teach her to think and not freeze up,” she said.
“Sexual assault or rape is not about sex, it is about power and control. Somebody wants to inflict that power over you,” Christian said.
Sexual assaults often occur on college campuses because students are in the years where they are growing up and trying new things like alcohol and drugs, Christian said. Students may make poor decisions without knowing, which can put them in vulnerable situations, she said.
“I want to let young women know to be cautious if you are trying something new like alcohol,” Christian said,
Freshman nursing major Rebekah Adams said that the group discussed how alcohol can play a role in dangerous situations.
“We talked a lot about how alcohol affects your ability to fight someone off if they are trying to sexually assault you,” she said. “People need to know their limits and how alcohol affects you.”
Students need to feel confident, and know when to be alarmed about something, Christian said. If a woman were to be in a dangerous situation, she would have the tools to pull from to save her own life, she said.
Freshman biology major Whitney Cosey said that everyone on campus needs to realize that they could be at risk.
“You can’t really put a label on someone who is raped or sexually assaulted; it can happen to anyone,” Cosey said.
Her experience in the R.A.D. class would help her to be aware and able to think through a situation if it happened, she said.
Christian encouraged anyone who had been sexually assaulted to make a report. TCU offers many different programs to help victims, and everything is confidential, she said.
Junior pre-business major Lennesha Morgan said she would recommend that women take advantage of R.A.D. and not wait until something happens. The class is more of a preparation, and someone should not wait until it is too late, she said.
Christian said she teaches the class for the students and all of the young women she has known who have been through a sexual assault. R.A.D. classes give women the tools that they need to survive, she said.
“[Women] have the right to set and reset their limits with anybody. Their body is their own. No means no, but you have to tell them no,” Christian said.
Freshman vocal performance major Libby Taussig said that 12 hours seems like a lot of time, but what is learned in the class is something to take away for life.
“People need to know that they need to say no. If something is going on and a situation is not comfortable, you need to communicate that [the situation] is not okay for the individual,” Taussig said.