Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Girls: defend yourself

In 1989 Larry Nadeau, former Marine and full-time police officer, developed the RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) Systems of self-defense. He wanted to create an affordable, accessible, and realistic program that would address the self-defense needs of women. Since then RAD has become the largest network of its kind with more than 7,000 certified instructors who teach at colleges, universities, municipal law enforcement agencies, and other community organizations internationally. RAD has also found its way to the FAU Boca campus and according to Lt. Chuck Aurin, a campus police officer and long time RAD program instructor, it’s become a big part of the police station’s operations.

This program is tailored to a women’s point of view, says Aurin, teaching defense techniques complementary to a woman’s physical strengths. “It is not a martial arts program,” he said, “it’s much more.” The RAD program is unlike most self-defense programs in that it stresses risk reduction and avoidance strategies as well as the physical contact aspects. No experience is necessary since the program is designed for the average woman. Participants in the 12-hour course receive a workbook/reference manual that outlines the entire Physical Defense Program for reference and review. RAD’s lifetime return and practice policy, which is honored throughout both the U.S. and Canada, is another unique feature that enables participants to reinforce and hone the skills they have learned. RAD is internationally recognized and the only self-defense program ever to be endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. Since its’ founding RAD has trained about 300,000 women.

Once students have learned the basics they have an opportunity to put their skills to the test in what Lt. Aurin calls, “simulation night.” During this session, students use their self-defense skills to, “kick some butt.” Lt. Aurin and some other police officers in simulation suits serve as reluctant targets. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Aurin. “It’s amazing what these women can do. Some of the small ones who you wouldn’t think are that tough hit the hardest. By the end of the night I’m exhausted.”

Sarah Tobkin, a former RAD student and now a certified instructor, remembers her first simulation night, “We (the students) could hear yelling and screaming inside as we waited in the hall for our turn. We didn’t really know what to expect but once we got in there the adrenaline really kicked in. It’s so gratifying when you finish and you know you have accomplished your goal.”

“We don’t make it easy for them,” said Aurin. “They have to earn it.”

Since its arrival at the FAU Boca campus in 1998, the programs staff has grown from two instructors to five, which does not include three former RAD students who are in the process of becoming instructors. Lt. Aurin said that the program really began to take off after the student government supported it last year. “We are hoping for their support again this year,” he said. In March or April the department would like to have a class on the Jupiter campus and eventually offer RAD on all FAU campuses. By next year they hope to make it a credit course.

The police department holds several classes a year, each with about 12 to 25 women. “The response has been tremendous,” said Aurin. “I can’t tell you how empowering it is for some women who take this program. We get so many success stories from students who have been in a situation where they were able to use what they have learned in the class to help themselves. It’s very rewarding to know that we are helping them.”

According to Lt. Aurin, most of the instructors and staff that help with the classes do it on their own time. “They really enjoy and feel very passionately about what they are doing; we take it very seriously.” Although the classes deal with serious issues such as rape, abduction, and protecting oneself in serious situations, “we try to keep it light,” said Lt. Aurin.

Get involved with RAD

The FAU police department is having a 3-night intensive RAD course Feb. 9, 16, and 23 from 6 p.m. -10 p.m. at the FAU police department in Rm. 118. It is open to all FAU, BCC, and PBCC students, faculty and staff. Women from the general public will be allowed to attend on a space available basis. The price of admission is $10 for students, $20 for faculty and staff, and $30 for outsiders. Make sure you stop by the police department and fill out a registration form. Stay tuned for an insider’s look at the RAD program and some women’s personal stories. For more information or questions about the RAD program contact Sgt. Tammy Di Grazia at 297-3500 or Lt. Chuck Aurin at 297-3504.

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