RAD strives to boost self-defense for female students

Sept. 10, 2012

Samantha Morley
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Although theft is the most common crime on campus, attacks and sexual assault are always possible threats on a college campus.

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes, which have been offered at UCCS for at least 10 years, are taught to prepare women just in case. Since the program’s creation, female students have learned the basics of self-defense.

During the four weeks the class is in session, women will learn how to see warning signs of a potential attack, avoid dangerous incidents and defend themselves against a predator.

UCCS Police Colonel Lisa Dipzinski teaches the RAD classes. She has been the lead instructor for three years and is making an effort this year to promote the classes to all freshmen as well as transfer and existing students. The Commode Chronicles and flyers throughout the campus advertise RAD each semester.

“The program was developed because of rape aggression and the lessons are specific to that,” Dipzinski said. During the first class, students are encouraged to be transparent with the other participants.

Each person states her name, reason for attending, what she hopes to learn and any past experiences that may pertain to the class.

“We’ve had some open up and say that they were raped, but it’s a really safe environment. Everything is open for discussion,” Dipzinski said.

The class is meant to inspire a sense of self-confidence within the women. Ideally, everyone will develop the essential skill of listening to her instincts.

“When the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you need to listen to that,” Dipzinski warned. “People need to be more aware. If you’re walking to your car wearing headphones, keep one side out. It’s also good to walk with another person.”

The RAD classes give participants an opportunity for physical practice and application after the verbal instruction.

Dipzinski gathers policemen garbed in sparring gear for the final sessions, and women are provided an opportunity to fight against an attacker in a safe environment.

Dipzinski stands by with a whistle, which she blows when a participant should stop. “I need my guys to work the next day,” she joked.

Few attacks have been reported since the RAD program was established. Between 2008 and 2010, there were only four reports of assault on and off campus.

But the university would like that number to be zero. “We want to avoid [incidents] all together,” Dipzinski said.

The RAD program costs $25 in advance and can be paid at the Public Safety Office. Participants are advised to wear loose clothing. The sessions run on a four-week schedule, and each class is three hours long.