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Drexel offers free self-defense courses | The Triangle

Drexel offers free self-defense courses

Drexel University’s Department of Public Safety recently wrapped up its series of four Rape Aggression Defense self-defense courses, which were available to women at Drexel and in the surrounding community free of charge.

The four R.A.D. classes were held for two weeks in January and provided women with hands-on defense training in addition to traditional lectures. The most effective way to teach R.A.D. courses is through participation.

“These courses cover lectures, stories and experiences of instructors,” Drexel Police Officer Maurice Gilliard said. “Having the courses utilize these different techniques allows the instructors a better chance to deal with the variety of ages and backgrounds of those participating.”

R.A.D. courses, part of the R.A.D. Systems for Self Defense, are offered at many universities throughout the nation, Gilliard said. Drexel’s program is unique, however, in that it is offered free of charge to both students and members of the community and is centered around students’ schedules.

The main goal of the series is to be proactive, R.A.D. instructor Madonna Calderoni explained. It is important to teach women how to protect themselves in dangerous situations, but also how to avoid situations that may put them at risk.

Calderoni wasn’t the only one stressing the importance of the R.A.D. classes, however.

“The purpose of R.A.D. for Women is to develop and enhance the options of self-defense, so they may become viable considerations to the women who are attacked,” R.A.D. instructor and coordinator Karen Sams said. “Removing the opportunity for criminality can keep us, in many cases, from being targeted for victimization and that is the ultimate goal. Survival via lack of opportunity for criminality.”

While this series of R.A.D. for Women courses has concluded, Drexel students and members of the surrounding community who are interested in participating can stay tuned for upcoming classes. The goal is to offer R.A.D. training courses at least twice per academic term, Sams explained. The courses are also offered on Saturdays and groups of five or more can even schedule training on their own with Public Safety, according to Calderoni.

Currently, additional instructors are in the process of becoming certified so Drexel is able to offer R.A.D. courses for men, as well. The ultimate goal is to provide each and every student with the proper, hands-on self-defense training.

“Understanding we live in a society where assaults happen too often, we try to educate everyone on ways they can possibly prevent a potential attack,” Gilliard said. “Minor things that you could pay attention to (like walking with headphones on) could be the exact things that save you from an unwarranted situation.”

Students who are interested in learning more about Rape Aggression Defense courses should visit the Department of Public Safety’s website or contact R.A.D. instructor and coordinator Karen Sams at 215-895-1609.