Keeping yourself safe

DPS officer talks about free two-day self defense program on campus

Ferris’ Department of Public Safety will be hosting their first Rape Aggression Defense training since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RAD is a two-day class that will be held on March 25 and 26. Students, faculty and community members are offered the opportunity to participate in the program. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 13% of college students experience some form of sexual assault while on campus through violence, force or incapacitation.

The RAD program is available throughout the US to help teach communities self-defense techniques. While the program’s cost varies depending on the location, Ferris offers the training for free.

DPS officer Nicholas Greenway has been teaching the program for 13 years. There is a physical aspect of the training, according to Greenway. Participants can practice what they learn to further learn how their skills can be used.

“We incorporate all those skills [they learned] at the end of the second day into three different scenarios to where we put on a big Redman suit, and it looks like a big, padded turtle suit and the students put on protective gear as well,” Greenway said. “And that gives you the opportunity to hit somebody 80%, not as hard as you can, but you can go pretty much full out to see what it feels like to actually hit somebody and utilize those techniques.”

This training is both physically and mentally demanding.

“It’s mentally challenging as well because we’re going to address a lot of things that maybe [are] not talked about all the time and what you can do to keep yourself safe,” Greenway said. “We’re going to learn the risk awareness reduction and avoidance strategy… What that means is… what can you do to protect yourself to be more aware when you’re walking on campus? In your own hometown? Around your dorm? Maybe your own residence within the city? What can you do to avoid it?”

Greenway explained some of the skills and practices that participants can learn. Some of these are making sure to walk with someone else, especially late at night, and to stay off your phone while walking. Greenway also mentioned that the course will slightly touch on alcohol safety and date rape drugs.

Anyone looking to take a refresher course for free may take one anywhere RAD is taught as long as they keep the booklet given to them at the training, according to Greenway. He recommends that the course be taken once a year.

“We also offer an option to just come in for the scenarios,” Greenway said. “You know if you just want to… do it one more time to kind of hone your skills… If you don’t train and practice, eventually you’re going to lose it.”

Anyone who is interested in taking the course but is nervous to take it alone can always bring a friend. According to Greenway, taking the course with a friend helps increase your confidence and allows you to feel less stressed.

The recommended attire is loose, comfortable clothing. Greenway explained that there is a lot of physical activity involved with the program, so participants will want to feel comfortable. He also recommended that participants bring a water bottle and snacks, as the training takes place over several hours each day.

Those looking to sign up can call (231) 591-5000 by March 24. For more information about the program, visit the RAD page on the Ferris DPS website. For those who want to sign up but are unable to this semester, DPS plans to hold another RAD training in the fall.