Female members of the Seton Hall community had the opportunity to participate in Rape Aggression Defense classes this week. The course consisted of three classes and an optional simulation which will take place on Saturday.
“RAD started in the fall of 2003 and since then the program has taught over 20 basic self defense programs to hundreds of women in the Seton Hall community – students, administrators, and faculty,” Elizabeth Cappelluti Sheehy, a RAD instructor and mentor in the freshman studies program, said.
The program was brought to Seton Hall by the Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs and Director of Public Safety, Patrick Linfante.
RAD is the largest women’s self defense network in the United States and Canada. Each individual class in the program consists of a lecture and physical exercise, according to the RAD Web site.
“I was surprised because we actually did a workout and were taught defense mechanisms and did not just listen to a lecture,” freshman RAD student Jenna Venditto said.
During the lecture, students learn four risk reduction strategies. These strategies include, risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition, and risk avoidance.
For the physical portion of the program, students warm up with a kickboxing routine and learn defense strategies, which allow the victim to create enough space to escape.
“It is really important to learn how to defend yourself in that particular situation because if something like that did happen you would probably be the only person able to help yourself,” Venditto said. “There won’t be other people around to help you.”
Cappelluti Sheehy agreed that the program is important to the general female population.
“We as women need to take ownership of our personal safety and after I took the course I felt empowered,” Cappelluti Sheehy said, explaining why she became an instructor in the program. Other instructors had similar views.
“Many women feel that after taking this class, their confidence and physical ability has increased,” Sarah Clifford, the assistant dean of leadership development said. She added that she enjoys sharing the feeling of empowerment with the other women in the classes.
RAD instructor and Associate Dean of Students in Community Development Christopher Kuretich participates in the program for a different reason.
“I think of the women who are close to me and the statistics that show one in four college-aged women will be victims of sexual violence,” Kuretich said.
RAD student Meg Isbitski takes part in the program for a similar reason.
“It’s evident that there are a lot of problems going on in the world with rape and abduction and I wanted to be educated about it,” Isbitski said. “I want to be able to keep myself out of trouble.”
Cliford said the program shows women the daily things to think twice about. These things include “where their car is parked to letting someone know where they are going,” Clifford said, “This course is beyond kicking and fighting.”
RAD will be taught this year twice in the fall and spring semesters. The next program will be taught Nov. 16 to 20. Interested women can sign up by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Jenna Berg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.