She called to talk. Not so much about her day but about her pain she didn’t dare share with anyone else. As a little girl she witnessed her dad beating up her mom, but it was soon to be her turn. She was just 10 or 11 when she became a victim of rape. She did not know what to do. She was scared.
This is the self-confessed story of one of the few phone calls last semester to CSUN’s Women’s Center for aid and guidance about domestic violence, gender issues and sexual assault. The identity of the female cannot be revealed because calls are anonymous, but her story rings true to females who are not only afraid to speak up but afraid to do anything about it to protect themselves.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Web site, every two and a half minutes someone is sexually assaulted in America. One in six American women are victims of sexual assault.
CSUN takes action to help prevent these occurrences by providing a Rape, Aggression, Defense training program to students for $10 and non-students for $12 on April 24 to 25 and May 1 to 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each session.
“This training is carried out with a specific goal,” said Detective Mark Benavidez, a sexual assault investigator who works at the University Police department and teaches the RAD classes.
“The goal is not only to learn the self-defense skills but also to build their confidence. To learn they at least have a chance.”
Training goes on for four days and three hours each session. “It’s an excellent program,” said Christina Villalobos, the program’s coordinator. “It takes realistic self-defense techniques to prepare a female in an assault. The program itself is progressive.”
The first class consists of the administrative process. There is paperwork and discussion of what personal safety is.
The instructors lay out different scenarios and give tips on how to avoid being in difficult and harmful situations. For example, during a party, if one’s drink has been out temporarily of sight, do not pick it up and drink it again. Then, slowly, introduction to physical defenses begin. The class progresses into less talk and more action. Scenarios such as someone coming up behind a victim and giving them a “bear hug” restriction would give the participants opportunity to use different striking motions.
One is taught either to strike the face, groin, chest with the elbows or other physically available places.
Other techniques such as the shin scrape, are taught as well. This movement involved using the outer part of one’s foot to kick hard in a downward motion to the shin, a sensitive area.
On the last day of class, participants will practice the “simulated assault,” where the instructors will be dressed in red padded suits and test different scenarios with students. With all the movements and techniques the students have been taught, they put to use the easy-to-do defense movements on the instructors.
“At first, the ladies who step in are timid and quiet women,” Benavidez said. “They all look around with anxiety and anticipation. Their vocal punches are a low tone at first.
Then by the second and third day, the voice saying ‘no’ gets stronger and rises in volume. There is more confidence.”
Karen Little, who works at the Oviatt Library’s circulation desk, took the classes last year after being introduced to the program by a female officer.
“It changed my life,” Little said. “I thought it was an extremely valuable experience for me. I wanted to share that with more people on campus.”
Little began informing her coworkers at the library and last August all the female staff members who were working at the Oviatt Library participated in RAD.
Lawrence Nadeau, a former U.S Marine, created this program in 1989. Nadeau has an extensive background in the police force and holds a third-degree black belt in the Korean martial art Hapkido.
He made sure the moves were effective and simple to do. He would try it on his mother and if she could not perform the moves, then he determined it was too difficult for anyone to use.
If Nadeau’s mother could use these movements then they could be done by the girl who called the Women’s Center for help.
“If you can avoid rape for $12, it’s not that expensive,” said Ayu Nishikawa, assistant director of the center, who receives calls and provides aid and guidance from proper counselors to women at CSUN.