According to the National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, one in every four women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. This sobering statistic represents something that in fact happens on our very own campus all the time. Young women are raped, abducted or assaulted entirely more frequently than we would like to believe. But Ohio State Police has recognized the issue and created a program to aid women.
Rape Aggression Defense is a national program of “realistic self-defense tactics for women … that begins with awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, while progressing on the basics of hands-on defense training,” according to University Police’s website. The program recognizes that these violent acts are sometimes unavoidable and a harsh reality of the world we live in; however, through the proper mental and physical training, it hopes to prepare women to defend themselves against whatever may come their way.
On Feb. 24, the student organization Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls welcomed three officers from the OSU RAD program. The three-hour session was broken into two halves. The first was a PowerPoint explaining mental training involved in self-defense. University Police Officer Cassandra Shaffer began with the disclaimer, “Any girl who is assaulted in any way was not at fault. I don’t care what she was wearing, if she was drunk, it doesn’t matter. Assault is assault. Violence is violence. Our mission is simple: to ensure every woman makes it home alive.”
She also explained that self-defense is 90 percent mental and gave us several helpful tips to protect ourselves. More often than not, making smart decisions and being aware of your surroundings can immensely prevent dangerous situations.
The second half of the program featured some physical instruction. Although fists, elbows and knees are wonderful tools, the greatest weapon at a women’s disposal is actually her voice. Shaffer made the girls repeat the mantra, “If you’re yelling, you’re breathing. If you’re breathing, you’re alive.”
RAD offers classes for free on campus. Visit its website at www.ps.ohio-state.edu/police/rad/.
Molly Tavoletti is vice president media chair for the fitness group Changing Health Attitudes and Actions to Recreate Girls.