Staying Safe: UTPD Women’s Safety Classes 

Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) Class

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Find out what the UTPD is doing to support women’s safety on campus

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we often find ourselves out and about when it is dark, whether it’s because of evening classes, club meetings, work or just for fun. However, it is important, especially for women, to keep safety in mind when traveling to and from events and home. 

Of course, fear should not keep you from doing anything at all, and luckily there are ways to take precautions and learn what to do when faced with dangerous situations. One such way would be to take a self-defense class. 

Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) is a self-defense program offered by the University of Tennessee Police Department (UTPD). R.A.D. instructors are nationally certified, and teach self-defense and situation prevention techniques in classes made up entirely of women students in order to create a comfortable and safe environment for learning. 

Four programs are offered at UT: Basic Self Defense, Advanced Self Defense, Aerosol Defense, and S.A.F.E. 

Sargent Mike Williams, a course instructor, talks about an introductory class to teach various practical strategies to use in any situation. 

“The Basic Self-Defense class is the most popular and the one we offer on a regular basis,” Williams said. 

No experience is required for both the Basic Self-Defense class and the S.A.F.E classes, however S.A.F.E. is geared towards groups and therefore are offered only by request. Additionally, it is mainly focused on safety precautions rather than physical self-defense. 

Sgt. Mike Williams and Officer Ryan Moore explained that the Basic Self-Defense class is a total of twelve hours, and takes three classes, each four hours long, to complete. Once completed, the instructor will sign the student book given to each participant. 

“RAD has a lifetime practice policy. While our classes are free, other areas and instructors may charge for their classes. If a RAD class is taken at our University and the participant moves away from the area, they can present that signed book and take the RAD class free of charge with another instructor,” said Williams. 

The Advanced Self-Defense and Aerosol Defense classes are to be taken after Basic Self-Defense, since they build on the skills learned in that course. The Advanced Self-Defense is a deeper dive into physical defense techniques, meanwhile the Aerosol Defense course teaches students how to effectively utilize pepper spray and what to do when aerosol sprays fail. 

Both classes are offered based on demand for the class. 

R.A.D. classes are offered for free and are open to all women, not just university students or staff. The class is suitable for most ages, however participants under the age of 18 will need to complete a Parental Consent Form.

Additionally, the minimum age to participate is 11 years old, or, in middle school. It is recommended that participants under 18 take the course with a guardian. 

Classes are taken at the UT police station at 1101 Cumberland Avenue. Participants are advised to wear athletic, loose-fitting, or street clothes and athletic shoes. Additionally, participants are asked to not wear jewelry, open-toe shoes, sandals,or heels. 

To enroll in R.A.D., visit UTPD’s website and scroll down. The link to apply should be on the home page. Or, click the link here

When looking into self-defense, taking a class from professional instructors can help jumpstart your learning experience. R.A.D. is a great option for women looking for a comfortable and practical environment to learn how to keep themselves safe.