Ferris to offer self-defense classes

Classes will teach women how to defend themselves against an attacker

Ferris DPS (Department of Public Safety) will be offering Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes to teach women self-defense tactics.

Participants will dedicate 12 hours of their time throughout a three week period. Classes will meet once a week during that period. The class is free of charge and is open to all female students, faculty/staff and female community members.

Classes will take place on Sept. 16, Sept. 23 and Sept. 30. All sessions will be held from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the West Campus Community Center. Participants must show up to all sessions. Class is limited to 20.

The R.A.D. system is a program of realistic, self-defense tactics and techniques that women can learn to defend themselves with if they are ever attacked and/or assaulted. The program is a comprehensive course for women that begins with awareness, prevention, risk-reduction and avoidance, while progressing onto the basics of hands-on defense training.

Ferris Chief of Police Marty Bledsoe said the classes are offered every year and DPS often offers it multiple times a year.

He said these classes will teach women how to develop a survival mindset. The course will teach women how to keep away from a potentially harmful situation and develop a sense of awareness, which is known as situational awareness.

“They will teach you how to detach yourself from the clutches of someone and display voice commands and actions to let them know you’re not an easy target,” said Bledsoe. In addition, women will learn how to develop physical reactions that can delay an attacker.

On Ferris’ campus, crime rates are low, but an issue arises with attacks such as sexual assaults, which can be under-reported after occurrence. However, the likelihood of being a victim of sexual assault or another crime is relatively small, according to Bledsoe.

Bledsoe said the reason Ferris’ Big Rapids campus has a low crime rate is because Ferris is a “select community” which is composed of laws and regulations that determine who is allowed on campus.

He said laws were made to remove people who can’t conduct themselves properly on campus and Ferris teaches students, staff and faculty how to be safe.

In order to stay safe, Bledsoe said it’s crucial to be aware of the surroundings, follow a sense of intuition or a “gut feeling,” don’t become distracted by a cell phone or iPod, and become in tune with senses, such as scanning the area while walking and listening for strange noises. These tactics will lessen the chance that “someone will surprise you,” said Bledsoe.

Additionally, following the “buddy system” or being with two or more people can also reduce the chances of being harmed.

If a form of crime does occur on campus, DPS will post bulletins containing the message at locations throughout campus.

Also, Bledsoe said Bulldogs Text to Tip, Ferris’ text messaging system of confidentially when reporting a crime by sending a text to BulldogsTextTip@nullferris.edu, is another way to report a concern about an uneasy situation. However, Bledsoe urges students to keep in mind that Bulldogs Text Tip does not take the place of 911.

The instructors of the course will be Officer Joy Paquette and Sergeant Jim Wing of DPS. Any questions about the classes can be answered by contacting Ferris DPS at ext. 5000. n