I'm a pretty paranoid person. I'm the kind of person that walks back to my car clutching my pepper spray in my pocket. I'm also the kind of person that fears simple tasks such as running alone or putting gas in my car too late at night. But now, I'm the kind of person that can defend myself if I need to.
I originally enrolled in FSU's RAD course because I needed the one credit hour and I figured it would be an easy A. Needless to say, taking this self defense class has changed my life.
RAD, Rape Aggression Defense, is a self-defense program that teaches women how to prevent, protect, and avoid targeted aggression. There are also RAD programs offered specifically for men and senior citizens, so it's truly available to anyone and everyone. RAD is at universities for students and at different police departments for the public, as well as across the globe, in several other countries.
The way my class was set up is specifically for women, and only for women to enroll in, with complete privacy and a closed-door policy. The class is held at the FSU police station and run by two crime prevention officers, so it really couldn't be in a more safe environment. One of the things I loved most about the class is that every officer involved in this course is required to go through an entire separate training process with the RAD program, unaffiliated to the university.
Throughout the semester, Officers Blair and Black taught us everything from how to recognize potential aggressors, prevent house break-ins, and of course, how to defend yourself when you've been physically attacked.
The most important thing that I've learned throughout the semester is that every woman and man does have the option to defend themselves. The most important thing to remember is that just having that option can be completely life changing.
I consider myself extremely lucky to never have been personally attacked or preyed on, because with 1 in every 6 American women having been the victim of sexual assault, luck must be the only thing to do with it. According to the same source, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 SECONDS. With these statistics in mind, think about how many women you know, and how many have probably been a victim of assault.
There were 19 other girls in my class. That's at least 3 victims. There are 45 women in my section in the Marching Chiefs. That's at least 7 victims. And although taking a self-defense class won't necessarily lessen the number of aggressors out there, it can potentially lessen the number of victims.
Living in a college town, with the majority of my time spent on a public campus, I can't believe I never knew how to defend myself. The option to defend yourself is out there, and it feels so damn good to know that. That's why I think everyone should take a self defense class at least once in their life. Even if it's just for the sake of getting an easy A, take the class, build knowledge, gain confidence, and have that option of defense.
Thank you, Officer Blair and Officer Black of FSUPD, for helping me learn that I do have the option to defend myself.