The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

The Student News Site of Fitchburg State University

The Point

Keeping Students Safe: University Police Presents Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Course

Zoe Chrisostomides

After recent concerns over sexual assault on and around Fitchburg State, the University offered a safety course for female students. According to, 26.4 percent of female undergraduate students report having been sexually assaulted or raped while attending college. Preparedness is important regardless of whether or not someone assumes or presumes safety in a space. The Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course is now being offered for the next four weeks for female students at Fitchburg State University.

The Rape Aggression Defense System (RAD) stands out among the top programs for teaching women self-defense. Across the United States and Canada, more than 400 colleges, universities, and police agencies teach the RAD Systems curriculum. The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators has only ever endorsed one self-defense program, and that is this one (IACLEA). This all-inclusive self-defense program for women is instructed by female police officers Jennie House, Erin Morreale, and Niomi Gaylein.

Sergeant Erin Morreale, who has been a RAD instructor for five years, states “As a university we’ve sent multiple officers through the course to become instructors, typically our female staff. It is a week-long course that we host here at the University for instructor training, so from usually eight to four every day you start by doing the actual training portion of what RAD is. You are basically a RAD participant yourself, and then you spend the secondary half learning how to instruct the other people.”

Before going on to the principles of actual defense education, other tactics are introduced leaving physical contact as a last resort. RAD Systems strikes a compromise between the requirement for women to learn physical skills for self-defense in a lifetime and their need to do so in a comparatively short amount of time.

“I think part of being in college is having independence, and if you are gonna be independent, I think you should also be knowledgeable about all different kinds of things, one of those things being how to defend yourself,” said fitchburg state senior Tess

There is a classroom component to the course. The RAD instructors over the forms, the regulations, and the overall tempo of the class. With the assistance of the students in the class, certain guidelines and standards are established for everyone participating in the course.

“I feel very strongly having gone through both police training and defensive tactics and what we can use versus what we learn in RAD and I know other instructors who have martial arts background or military background. The cool thing about RAD is that it’s easy to teach, it’s easy to remember, but it’s effective. That is why I think it continues to be such a good program. In the four classes that you get, because again we spend some portion doing some classroom stuff, but in the bulk the meat of potatoes that you get out of it, everything you learn is effective,” said Morreale.

The twelve-hour course on RAD is offered in four weeknight sessions, lasting three hours apiece. An overview and discussion of risk reduction and prevention are covered in the first class. The physical defense techniques will be taught and practiced in the next two classes. An assault scenario is the last lesson.

“We go to the gym portion of it or the actual physical portion of it, which we will spend the next three classes going over. The actual physical moves are defensive techniques. Your striking and kicking techniques, your ground for defense techniques, or things like that,” said Morreale.

The Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course is taught over four classes, with a new round beginning on Thursday, October 19th in the Recreation Center. To register, contact Nicole Arcangeli at [email protected].

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Zoe Chrisostomides, Staff Writer

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