UI students learn about self-defense

Alton+Poole%2C+an+R.A.D.+instructor%2C+holds+a+dummy+for+attendees+to+practice+defensive+moves+during+a+Rape+Aggression+Defense+%28R.A.D.%29+Class+at+the+Department+of+Public+Safety+in+Iowa+City+on+Wednesday%2C+Oct+5%2C+2016.+R.A.D.+classes+are+basic+self-defense+classes+for+women.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FTing+Xuan+Tan%29

Ting Xuan Tan

Alton Poole, an R.A.D. instructor, holds a dummy for attendees to practice defensive moves during a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) Class at the Department of Public Safety in Iowa City on Wednesday, Oct 5, 2016. R.A.D. classes are basic self-defense classes for women. (The Daily Iowan/Ting Xuan Tan)

By Kayli Reese

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The University of Iowa police pack a powerful punch in their message of protecting oneself against potential predators.

The Rape Aggression Defense class for the fall semester started on Monday, with four more classes on Oct. 10 and 12 from 6 to 9 p.m.

There are 11 females enrolled in the class, not all of whom are students, said Tess Lipsius, a co-instructor for the class.

Lipsius said she believes this is a good number of people; if the class becomes too large, some important content may be lost. However, primary instructor Gabby Blanchard-Shreck said more instructors can always be asked to teach the class.

She said the class focuses largely on presenting information to students about risk reduction and preparation of potential assaults on women. Also, defensive moves are taught to students for use in a potentially dangerous situation.

“[The class] is invaluable in helping people mitigate risk and teaching confidence,” Lipsius said.

Officer Alton Poole, the UI police crime-prevention specialist, said participants in the class must attend nine of the 12 hours of class to obtain the certificate for Rape Aggression Defense. The third class, a simulation of a potential assault, is optional for the students to partake in.

Poole believes the class should be mandatory for students of all genders to take, especially considering the current climate on college campuses concerning sexual assault.

The defense classes, he said, are offered during the spring, summer, and fall semesters. After receiving the certificate, students can come back and brush up on their skills at any time they choose. Since Rape Aggression Defense is a national program, Poole said, former students can attend any other class in the country if they so choose.

Lipsius said that after she took the class, she went on to participate in the training needed to become an instructor. This session is her first time as an instructor.

Addressing the recent Speak Out @ Iowa survey conducted by the UI to find out about sexual assault on campus, Poole said the results cannot speak for the entire student population. A quarter of female respondents reported having been sexually assaulted while at the UI, but only 9 percent of students took the survey. However, Poole said only 6 percent of rapes on college campuses are reported nationwide, and it would be worthwhile to ask all other students at the UI about sexual assault.

“You yourself can take care of yourself,” Blanchard-Shreck said in regards to the importance of the defense classes.

Iowa City resident Terresa Maas, who is taking the class, also believes knowing the skills the class teaches people is extremely valuable.

“It gives more awareness about things we don’t normally think about,” she said.

While this particular class is for people who identify themselves as female, Poole and Blanchard-Shreck noted there are other Rape Aggression Defense classes offered at the UI to people who identify as male.

Blanchard-Sherck said information about 2017 classes will be given at the end of November.

Poole said while bystander intervention is important, learning what to do when you are by yourself in a dangerous situation is especially important.

“A bystander is great when you’re out in a group, but what do you do when you’re behind closed doors?” he said.

More information about the class, as well as where the 2017 information will be posted: https://police.uiowa.edu/police/rape-aggression-defense-rad

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