Campus Safety aims to prevent sexual assault with education
THE SANTA CLARA
November 3, 2016
For just $7, female members of the Santa Clara community can learn how to fight off a potential attacker.
Campus Safety recently announced that they are offering Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes for female students, faculty, staff and members of the Santa Clara community on Nov. 12 and 13 with the hope of preventing and educating about sexual assault.
Tracy Cox, a Campus Safety officer and R.A.D. instructor said that the classes are not martial arts, but rather designed to educate women about potential threats and train them to avoid and escape such situations. He said that the classes are mostly educational with a small physical component.
“The goal is not to fight someone, it’s to escape,” Cox said.
R.A.D. is a national program that was founded in 1989 “with over 3,500 instructors certified and nearly 160,000 women trained,” as noted in the brochure. According to Cox, the $7 cost for Santa Clara’s classes ensure a lifetime membership to the organization and the ability to take free R.A.D. classes throughout the country.
When asked why the class is being offered only to females, Cox said that statistically speaking, women are more likely to be targets of sexual and physical assault. He added that Campus Safety hopes to offer similar classes next year that would be slightly adjusted for males.
According to Cox, the classes are personalized and adjusted to suit student’s concerns, such as how to stay safe while studying abroad. Students are encouraged to do only what they are comfortable with, especially during simulations.
Karen Oswald, a Campus Safety officer and newly certified R.A.D. instructor, said that the instructor training was four days long and allowed her to better understand the emotions that may arise during the R.A.D. classes. She said the class taught her “how to stay focused in critical situations.”
Oswald added that “part of the empowerment process is the ability to make your own decisions.”
To alleviate potential stress and anxiety, Oswald and Cox said they will try to make the class enjoyable by integrating humorous video clips from popular late night show “Saturday Night Live.”
Oswald also said that the R.A.D. classes are a great opportunity to “foster the relationship between Campus Safety and the community.”
However, some members of the campus community are skeptical about the classes.
“The fact that the class is for female students, faculty and staff only is problematic to me in the sense that men can also be sexually assaulted and raped,” said Sarah Locklin, a SCAAP coordinator for Feminists for Justice. “In society, men are expected to always defend themselves. However, I’m glad to hear that they’re creating a class tailored to those who identify as male.”
Emma Hyndman, an executive board member on the Violence Prevention Program (VPP) said she sees the value in R.A.D. classes for some individuals, but said that the classes “shouldn’t be the only form of violence prevention.”
Hyndman recalled taking a self-defense class which didn’t suit her needs because she is one to take flight, rather than fight, in threatening situations.
She also expressed concern about the danger of hindsight and victim-blaming.
“You should never be faulted for what you didn’t know,” she said.
Senior Aidan Mahony also expressed concern that R.A.D. classes provide “no outreach for potential perpetrators.”
Mahoney suggested that if the university wants to be proactive it should “invest in all the intricate roles people play in sexual assault.” The VPP, which works to advocate and educate on sexual assault and violence, provides resources like bystander intervention training, survivor support and panels on healthy relationships.
“I hate to say that R.A.D. fosters empowerment because that’s too bland,” Oswald said. “But it offers an education which leads to the recognition of one’s own power.”
Contact Bella Rios at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.