By TOM FINK
To potential rape victims, Claremore Police Officer Robin Blair offers this advice: Don’t get mad, get RAD.
RAD, or the Rape Aggression Defense system is a program of realistic, self-defense techniques taught to women in a classroom setting by certified instructors from the community.
“We’ve been doing RAD programs through the police department for years now, usually a few courses a year, sometimes more, depending on demand,” said Blair, certified RAD instructor. “Our last program was in April and response to it was overwhelmingly positive, so we’re scheduling our next (RAD) program for later this month.”
During the program, Blair, again with officers Danny Dobbins and Michael Shaver, teaches women no-nonsense means of protecting themselves against an attacker.
“This isn’t a martial arts program or anything that’s impossible for a normal person to do,” Blair said. “It’s designed for the average woman with no prior experience or background in physical skills training.”
Over the course of the program, participants receive practical self-defense lessons, and during “graduation,” class members complete a final test involving the use of all defensive techniques learned in the course.
“At the last class, we have a simulation where the students dress out in full protective gear — knee and elbow pads, head gear, etc. — and are attacked by two aggressors, in this case, officers Dobbins and Shaver, who are also dressed in protective gear,” Blair said. “The (graduation) objective is for the women to protect themselves with what they’ve learned and to basically walk from one end of a room to the other.”
Although some participants begin the program “meekly,” throughout the course, they gain the confidence that comes with knowing they can defend themselves, Blair said.
“The aggressor exercise is as much work for the instructors as it is for the students,” Blair said. “We go out full force because that’s exactly what a real attacker would do — and we want these ladies to be able to protect themselves, through kicking, hitting, and all the vocal techniques we teach them — it’s 100 percent from everyone.”
After the exercise, Blair said the class reviews the video tape of the drill, with participants often surprised at their own reactions.
“When we see the tapes, the participants see how much they picked up in the class,” she said. “Protecting themselves becomes something that they don’t think about so much as it becomes instinctual and that’s what can save their lives.
“Within the course, we talk about the ‘triangle of victimization’ where you have the victim, the suspect, and the opportunity,” she said. “If you’re able to take away any one of those things from the triangle, an attack can be prevented — that’s what the class is all about.”
The Claremore Police’s next RAD system program will be 6-9 p.m. Thursday, June 21, Friday, June 22, Monday, June 25, and Tuesday, June 26 at the Claremore Community Center.
Cost to participate is $10, which includes a comprehensive reference manual.
For more information about the RAD program or to participate, contact Claremore Police Officers Robin Blair, Danny Dobbins, or Michael Shaver at 341-1212.