When junior Laura Guidolin leaves her class after dark at Cal State Long Beach for the long walk to her car, she wishes there was more light on campus; however, she still feels confident enough to walk alone thanks to the Rape Aggression Defense class she took on campus.
RAD is an international safety program for women that is tailored for a college campus setting. Hosted by University Police at CSULB, the course focuses on prevention and a realistic approach to self defense. The program begins on campus, Tuesday Oct. 3 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursdays.
“I loved [RAD,]” said Guidolin, a kinesiology major. “I have less fear and more confidence now and they really put you out of your element there. It’s a bonding experience as well.”
According to Keith Caires, University Police Sergeant and current RAD instructor, 95 percent of the class is focused on risk awareness, risk reduction and risk avoidance.
“If you get those three things right, you’ll probably never need the [physical] techniques,” Caires said.
RAD may be a self defense class but it is not as centered around physical response as much as it is awareness.
“We aren’t jumping into ‘suit up we’re going to hit stuff,’” said Allyson Joy, campus RAD coordinator and assistant emergency management coordinator at CSULB.
According to Caires, CSULB has rarely had problems with transients causing trouble or harassing women, but students should be aware that CSULB is an open campus.
“It’s not the boogie man in the bushes that we’re really teaching you to be afraid of,” Caires said. “It’s the subtle manipulator that you met at a party or a bar that’s going to try and isolate you and not take no for an answer.”
The cost is $10 and includes a 12-hour course which is split into four nights and the option to take the retake the course anywhere in the world for free. Although it is exclusive to woman, both Joy and Caires agree there are good reasons for this.
“There has to be a gender specific approach to a class like this,” said Allyson Joy, campus RAD coordinator and assistant emergency management coordinator at CSULB. “As a woman you’re not going to use brute strength to defend yourself.”
According to Joy, there are certain methods and techniques taught in the class so that women can optimize their strength and learn important weakness points on the male body.
“It’s very gender oriented,” Caires said. “Some people have argued that that’s a bad thing.”
According to Caires there have been complaints filed in the past on another campus which expressed the unfairness of RAD being gender exclusive.
“That went up through the whole system and was ruled that it is in fact okay that we have a class just for women,” Caires said. “We have to pay attention to the statistics, 1 in 5 women are sexual assault survivors.”
Caires has also emphasized the importance of the class not being solely run by law enforcement.
“What I was doing over the years is saying, ‘this just can’t be all police,’ it leads to a lack of diversity in the course,” Caires said.
Joy says it is rewarding to see more timid students come out of their shells during the course and to be able to give women the confidence to protect themselves.
“The goal isn’t to learn how to kick their ass,” Joy said. “It’s learning how to get away.”