Red Zone: Rape Aggression Defense Training at UAA teaches women self-defense techniques

UAA offers Rape Aggression Defense Training, or RAD Training, free of charge to students and anyone who identifies as a woman. 

Fifty-two incidents of violence against women have been reported to the university and Anchorage Police since 2016, according to The 2019 Climate Survey Report.

RAD provides self-defense training based on real-life situations. Students are taught to defend themselves with physical force and other techniques to thwart or prevent an assault. 

“The RAD system will provide students with the knowledge to make an educated decision about personal defense. We provide information on physical and non-physical options, as well as insight into the attacker’s mindset,” according to the RAD page on the UAA website.

Lieutenant Shane Bozeman of the University Police Department believes the training can have an effect on the safety of the UAA community.

“[RAD Training] offers participants information, techniques and practices to help keep them safe through Risk Awareness, Risk Recognition, Risk Reduction and Risk Avoidance,” Bozeman said. “While no technique is 100%, we have had students who participated in RAD Training share stories of what they believed to be potentially serious situations. They were able to avoid or remove themselves from [these situations] based on the concepts and techniques they learned through the program.”

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The 12-hour program is broken up into two or three classes. Students of any ability level are welcome to attend. Once a student has completed RAD Training, they will be given a signed manual, which doubles as a ticket for free lifetime return and practice of RAD in the U.S. and Canada. 

It is not unusual for crime reports to go up after programs like RAD and Title IX are introduced, Lt. Bozeman said.

“One thing to keep in mind is that the effects of training are often counterintuitive. Training can actually result in an increase in crimes reported simply because people are more aware of unacceptable behavior,” Bozeman said.

Lt. Bozeman encourages students to look at the annual crime reports.

“Unfortunately, sexual assault is still under-reported, according to the Campus Climate Survey, which provides data collectively on all University of Alaska campuses,” Bozeman said. “Overall, UAA is a safe campus, but I would encourage students to become more familiar with crime statistics reported through our Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which the university is required to report under the Clery Act.” 

In addition to Title IX and RAD, there is another program available that Bozeman recommends called Bringing in the Bystander training, taught by student Peer Health Educators with the Student Health and Counseling Center. The program focuses on how bystanders of a possible sexual assault can prevent it by intervening in specific ways that are not aggressive, such as distracting the threat.

The next RAD training sessions are on Oct. 19 and 20 and Nov. 16 and 17 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Both classes will be for two days each, both six hours long. Students are encouraged to bring water, snacks and a towel. To register, email [email protected] with names and contact information.