Rape Aggression Defense program a popular choice for campus women

Instructor Aubrey Ray (left) leads a recent Rape Aggression Defense course.

Normally, when the Western Carolina University Police Department’s “Rape Aggression Defense” course is offered, it’s done just for the specific group that requested it.

But recently, for the first time ever, Sgt. Jacob Deal, who oversees the department’s programs, sent out a university-wide invitation to an upcoming RAD course. Within 30 minutes of sending out the flyer, the course was booked, Deal said.

At 9 a.m. Saturday, March 25, in Harrill Residence Hall, the comprehensive self-defense course for women will take place in front of a full room of about 20 women, Deal said. The program, which is free to all students, faculty and staff, was requested by Sigma Gamma Rho, Alpha Phi Alpha and Zeta Phi Beta sororities. Deal said the sororities also wanted to open up the event to the entire campus.

“I would say within 30 minutes we were already at max capacity with people RSVP-ing,” Deal said. “We had an overwhelming number of people, which I think is really awesome. I think we’re going to end up having between 20 and 25 individuals in the course. We’re trying to keep it right at 20.

“We didn’t know what to expect, but to have that immediate response and for it to fill up so fast, it’s like, ‘Wow.’ These students and faculty and staff are really engaged in this. It’s something that they want. And we’re glad that we have a program that we’re able to offer to these individuals who are so interested in it.”

Not only does the RAD program provide women with self-defense tactics and techniques, but it also teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. WCU has six certified RAD instructors, led by health and physical education instructor Aubrey Ray. While Saturday’s event is the full program that ends at 5 p.m., there also is a “RAD Express” course that is a condensed version of the program and lasts about an hour. Deal said “RAD Express” is requested a couple of times a month, usually in the residence halls.

Deal said he hopes to offer more RAD sessions in the future so that more people across campus are able to participate.

“The frustrating part for me was we are limited to so many individuals,” Deal said. “We can’t have 50 people in the classroom. I want to be teaching this as much as possible so that we can continue to have those individuals who are interested getting the opportunity to go through the program.”

Click here to request the program. For more information, contact Deal at jpdeal@wcu.edu or 828-227-3207.