OUPD offering self-defense classes for OU community

The RAD Logo — Rape Aggression Defense Systems.

Photo courtesy of rad.systems.com

The RAD Logo — Rape Aggression Defense Systems.

Content Warning: Topics of sexaul assault and sexual harassment.

According to a 2018 research study provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, roughly 80% of women in the U.S. reported experiencing a form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. Of this 80%, around 24% of survivors reported being between the ages of 18 and 24 at the time the incident took place.

Given these statistics, several programs dedicated to helping women learn self-defense tactics in order to protect themselves in aggressive situations have been developed. One of these programs being Rape Aggression Defense Systems (RAD) — A national body that offers programs a variety of programs for education and training on self-defense.

The Oakland University Police Department (OUPD) has been proud to offer RAD classes to the OU community since 1998 with the help of OUPD Lt. Terry Ross —  one of the first instructors of the program at OU and current RAD coordinator for the department. OUPD continues to offer RAD training with two different starting dates this winter semester.

Sergeant Brad Beldo, OUPD and RAD supervisor, states the RAD program is made up of specific components including a lecture and physical self-defense training.

The lecture portion consists of discussions about things like recognizing predator tactics, awareness and support systems available if an attack were to occur. The physical portion touches on things like the mechanics of generating power as well as how and where to hit targets on an aggressor.

“The goal of RAD is to escape. It’s not to pound somebody into the pavement, it’s to deal with the situation and get away from that situation. Now, does that mean you may have to hit somebody; Absolutely. But we show where to hit, we discuss vulnerable targets — the eyes, the groin — we discuss where you don’t want to hit somebody,” Sgt. Beldo said.

With instructing RAD classes, Sgt. Beldo aims to create awareness and safety not only while students are on OU’s campus, but after they leave the university.

“We are concerned, we care about the community as a whole, we want everybody to be able to feel safe, feel secure, and be able to go about their lives, but we also want people to be cautious and be careful,” Sgt. Beldo said. “Safety, self-defense or a safety mindset extends outside of Oakland University, as well. We want you to feel safe here but moving forward, as you progress in your careers, as you move on in your lives, we want you to be able to feel safe anywhere you go.”

Sgt. Beldo also emphasized the benefits of RAD as students are able to incorporate techniques or strategies they may have learned outside of the program into what they will learn in the class.

“What I really like about RAD is that first and foremost it’s a women’s centered self-defense which is good in and of itself,” Sgt. Beldo said. “But what I love about RAD is the fact that it says: ‘You know what, we are not the only system.’ Knowledge is a great thing.”

“It’s a very good program but they say if you see something else from a program that you like, use it. So it’s not like this is the be all, end all. This is a starting point; this is giving you options that you might not have known that you had.”

Not only does the program provide education on what to do if you find yourself in an aggressive situation, but it aims to provide empowerment to the participants.

“We had a student say once, ‘Thank you for giving me permission to defend myself.’ We don’t give you permission to defend yourself, you’ve always had it. And seeing that level of empowerment like ‘You know what, yes I can do this. I can survive, I can generate power, I can escape,’ that’s what we focus on. We want that empowerment,” Sgt. Beldo said.

The class will be instructed by OUPD’s Sgt. Brad Beldo, Detective Shona Collins and Officer Elizabeth Marcu and will take place in Hillcrest Hall. Classes are free to all OU students and affiliates and $35 for any non-affiliates. The Basic RAD class being offering in Jan. has been postponed and is expected to begin in April. There is another class slated to begin Feb. 7 for any students interested in attending. More information and the link to registration can be found on the OU events calendar.

For students unable to attend OUPD’s offering of the program, more information and a program locator can be found on the RAD Systems website.