The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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For-credit self-defense class offers ways to empower students

Carrying a weapon for self-defense is not an option at CSUN, but now the opportunity to be empowered without a weapon is open to all students through the RAD program.

RAD for men is a class for Resisting Aggression with Defense, while RAD for women is a Rape Aggression Defense class. For the first time at CSUN, RAD is now offered as a for-credit class.

Unlike any other martial arts class, RAD is taught by the Kinesiology Department instructors and specially trained staff from the Department of Public Safety, who help students become physically and mentally empowered.

Daniel Foster, the crime prevention coordinator at the Department of Public Safety said, ‘The primary objective of RAD for men is to not use force, this is not the idea behind this class. And again, they are defensive tactics, not offensive, where 90 percent of the time you’re blocking and not attacking.’

In addition to blocking techniques RAD shows students how to put a keychain and an aerosol into the defensive mode.

‘Taking RAD was one of the best decisions I have ever made as a student at CSUN’hellip;I won’t lie, I was very hesitant about taking this class at first, but once the training was done, I just wanted to go back and learn more because it gave me the opportunity to not only feel empowered, but to act with power when needed,’ Julie Gerges said, a junior majoring in Liberal Studies who has previously taken the class.

The RAD class for men did not launch successfully this semester because only two individuals signed up.

‘The primary overall goal of the course is to teach men to say, part of the verbalization, ‘I’m sorry there’s been a misunderstanding and I’m leaving!’ It does get these kinds of reactions from a lot of people saying ‘that’s not what society teaches us!’ and that is part of the problem why we see lack of interest in this class,’ Foster said.

The course is open to all who are interested, but there tends to be two different types of interest for those who attend the class.

‘Often times there are two groups of people who take this class, either they are survivors of sexual assault or they just want to learn the skills to protect themselves in situations like that,’ Christina Villalobos said, a special assistant to the chief of police and community relations officer at the Department of Public Safety. Villalobos recalled what instructors who have taught the class told her’mdash;often times women who are survivors of sexual assault tend to be a bit hesitant at first to participate in the simulation exercises, but after doing so they feel empowered, stronger about themselves, and glad they took the class.

This is a lifetime return class’mdash;students who take this class, not just at CSUN but anywhere across the nation, can return anytime they want and retake the class. Villalobos said students who return to RAD, as it has occurred before, mainly return to be part of the simulation exercises and to ‘brush up’ on their skills.

Everyone who takes this class will receive a certificate at the end, showing they are, as Foster called them ‘RAD Grads.’ This certificate will guarantee open spots to those who return seeking more practice, free of cost.

‘If you end up with an odd number of units, then here is a one unit class to add on and make it even!’ Foster said.

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