PIQUA — One of the biggest fears women face is being defenseless during a rape assault. When there is no one to cry out to for help, only she can save herself. To prevent her from becoming another statistic, she needs to think and act fast, in which is taught in the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) class offered at the YWCA.
The YWCA, in partnership with the Piqua Police Department, conducts the class yearly, offering women ages 15 years and older self-defense mechanisms in a case where an attempted rape or assault occurs. Women learn self-defense skills, risk awareness, and avoidance tactics that will increase their chances of not being assaulted.
“The participants can expect to be mentally and physically challenged,” said Leesa Baker, executive director at the YWCA in an email. “Women of all ages who have completed this course felt empowered by the knowledge gained, and especially their improved confidence. Women have become more aware of their surroundings as a result.”
In the beginning of the course, students study through textbooks, learning many ways they can protect themselves and things that are commonly overlooked such as checking underneath their car, or parking under a light post. Also, students learn different strikes, kicks, hits, holds, and ground defense.
On the last day, students are tested on these skills by being in a simulated attack. They are tested to see if they could survive a real-life attack and are able to escape from the rapist.
“The biggest thing, as a woman teaching (RAD class), is it’s your chance to be attacked in a controlled setting, and see what your abilities are and what you can do,” said Robin Dankworth, course instructor. “It’s very empowering.”
Women are trained to use RAD for all situations. An area in Piqua that draws the most concern is the bike path, where women learn to walk with at least one ear bud out from the ear, to walk with a friend, and not take the same path every time in case they are being stalked. As for former student Cathy Oda, she uses these tactics every time she is on the bike path.
“(RAD training) is very useful … I still refer to it when I’m on the bike path or walking,” Oda said. “I am more aware of my surroundings … I have more of a plan in my head than thinking that nothing won’t happen.”
Oda was one of the first graduates from the class when it was first offered at the YWCA in 1999. “It’s no big science fiction thing … (Class) just makes you think, and makes you more prepare if something happens.”
The 12-hour self-defense class will be on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning Monday, Oct. 5, at the YWCA located at 418 N. Wayne St. The program will be held on Oct. 5, 7, 12, and 14. Classes are from 6-9 p.m. each night. All classes are taught by Piqua Police officers who are RAD-certified instructors.
YWCA membership is not required to participate. All those interested in taking the course must sign up at the YWCA to fill out a form and pay the class fee beforehand. Limited scholarship assistance is also available. Participants must be able to attend all four sessions.
For more information or registration, stop at the YWCA or call (937) 773-6626.
Reach Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340.