Fend off fear

Ferris to offer free self defense class to women

Ferris junior Brittany Buti doesn’t know if she would be able to fend off an attacker.

“I don’t think I’d be able to fight someone off, especially if they had weapons,” Buti, a television and digital media production major, said.

Ferris police officer Joy Paquette believes every woman should be trained to defend herself and is partnering with the university to provide female students, as well as other community members, an opportunity to learn how.

With the hope that women will feel empowered to make decisions regarding their safety, Paquette will be teaching a free class using the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) curriculum. Since it was developed by a campus police officer in 1989, RAD has trained more than 250,000 women and is the world’s largest self-defense program.

“Every woman who takes this class will be confident and empowered,” Paquette said. “I’ve seen women who are very shy at first walk out a totally different person.”

The two-day class will take place Feb. 9-10 from 1-6 p.m. at the West Campus Community Center. Registration is open to women ages 13 and older. Participants will learn how to avoid dangerous situations as well as basic self-defense moves.

An attempted sexual assault on campus in October made Buti realize that she needed to be prepared if she ever found herself in a similar position.

“I think I could definitely benefit from a self defense class,” Buti said. “I probably wouldn’t be able to overpower an attacker, but with the right techniques, I might be able to get away.”

According to Paquette, Ferris is a safe campus, but “that doesn’t mean things won’t happen.” While the skills learned in the RAD classes are not a guarantee against preventing an attack, it will provide women with options.

Last summer, Ferris’ Department of Public Safety, which has been offering the RAD program since 1999, received a $7,200 grant from The Ferris Foundation for new equipment to protect participants during attack simulations.

“I’m really intrigued by the hands-on, realistic approach,” Buti said. “If I’m going to take that much time to go to a class, I want to make sure I’m really getting something out of it.”

Because the training is progressive, attendance is required at both training sessions. Participants will receive a RAD reference manual and a lifetime free-return and practice policy.

For more information or to sign up for the class, call Ferris’ DPS at (231) 591-5000.

“I’d definitely consider taking this class,” Buti said. “It’s important for women to know how to protect themselves. I don’t want to standby and be a victim. I want to be able to stand up and defend myself.”