Class teaches defense against sexual assault
Published: Thursday, September 19, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 19, 2013 11:09
Cpl. Traci Simpson of UPD is putting her skills to good use. With seven years in the military, martial arts experience and time in the medical field, Simpson uses her expertise in the Rape Aggression Defense class to help women prepare themselves in the case of a sexual assault.
The class discusses topics such as rape, sexual assault, forcible sodomy, stalking and abduction. Students are also taught self-defense moves in order to protect themselves.
Simpson has been teaching RAD classes for more than three years, and said this was approximately her 27th class to teach.
Many women who attend the class come out of it with more confidence.
“One lady who took the class was unable to look people in the eye and say hello to them. After taking the class, she is able to look people in the eye,” Simpson said.
People carry weapons everywhere they go, indicates Simpson. Some carry pepper spray, some use knives or keys, and some use their body.
“Our hands, elbows, knees, feet and voice can be used for our advantage,” Simpson said.
Those who attend the class will take what they learned into consideration when caught in a serious situation. Simpson said one woman taking her class was approached at a park and used her defense moves to get away.
Officer Gene Layne helped demonstrate the defense moves with Simpson in the course held during Campus Safety Awareness Week on Sept. 10 and 11 in the Mockingbird Room in the Student Union. It was his first class to help teach, and he said he hopes to help out with many more in the future.
“I think the class is important. Students learn to be more confident by coming to the class,” he said.
Layne said he recommends anyone who did not take the class to attend the next one, be more cautious of their surroundings and walk with others in dark areas.
Officer Russell Gray also assisted Simpson with the class. He showed the defense moves to others and portrayed how a predator behaves.
Julie Atkins, a freshman speech pathology major of DeQueen, attended the class, and said it built up her confidence.
“I liked the class. (Anybody) can go and learn the moves,” Atkins said.
She said she feels more confident now that she knows how to act in a serious situation.
“I liked the class. I learned lots of information. I learned lots of moves, and learned to check my surroundings more,” Sylvia Schmidt, a freshman undecided major of Jonesboro, said.
Schmidt has been carrying pepper spray and a whistle around campus, but now that she has attended the class, she will be even more prepared for an attacker.
Katy Smith, a freshman majoring in business administration of DeQueen, said she believes the class was helpful because young women are more prone to danger.
“ I don’t usually carry weapons around because I am underage,” she said. “ I learned how to break out of chokeholds.”
In the fall of 2014, a college credit level class could possibly be available for students to take. The class will focus on a broader perspective of what the two-day Rape Aggression Defense course covers. The class will be offered through the criminology department, but will be available to all students on campus.
UPD offers the course for free so anybody interested in the training can attend.
For those unable to attend RAD on campus, other courses are available.
“Whether you live here in town, or another city, you can check with a state agency, and find out when classes around the town are available,” Simpson said. “I usually do one class per month on campus, but I also do classes all around the community as well.”
RAD courses are usually held once a month on campus and flyers are posted with dates and times. Simpson said a definite time has not been scheduled for the next campus course in October, but students can check the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ArkansasStateUniversityPoliceDepartment to keep up with events.
For more information on RAD courses, contact Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.astate.edu/a/police/rape-defense/index.dot.