Course teaches safety, defense

Published 2:19 pm Saturday, February 18, 2012

About 35 local women are participating in a program that could save their lives.

The Troy Police Department and Troy University’s S.A.V.E  Project have partnered to offer Rape Aggression Defense courses at no charge to area women.

“Twelve hours of free time is a lifetime of knowledge,” said Donna Oliver, a criminal justice lecturer at the university.

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From learning avoidance tactics, to defensive stances and how to fashion everyday items into weapons in a time of danger, the women are developing skills and confidence needed if they are ever approached by an attacker.

“Anything is possible as long as you never give up,” said police Det. Mike O’Hara. “Continue to fight.”


The training program was broken down into four classes, one lecture class and three classes dealing with physical attack situations.

“Your defensive resistance needs to be 100 percent,” O’Hara told the women. “Don’t stop until you get that chance to get away.”

Trainers with the program stressed that the object of the classes was not to teach women to fight in the traditional sense, but to provide women with the tools they need to find opportunities to break free and run.

In some cases, everything a woman tries may not be enough to keep her from harm, but RAD instructors were quick to tell their students that the fight isn’t over, just because they weren’t able to get away.

“It is not over,” Oliver said. “You are still in the fight to be able to put this guy behind bars.”

Instructors told women to take mental notes about the attacker by concentrating on physical descriptions, right down to how he smelled.

To participate in the classes, women had to commit to being available for all four Thursday nights in February. This coming week is the last class of the session, but RAD is offered as a PE credit at the university and instructors hope to offer the course for free a few times a year.

For more information contact the Troy Police Department or the S.A.V.E. Project at Troy University.