Celebrating the people and projects of TU's Division of Administration and Finance

A&F Staff Prepare Women to Fight Back

By Susanna Craine

The three determined coaches who teach the Office of Public Safety course called Rape and Aggression Defense (R.A.D) are eagerly looking forward to their next class in April. The R.A.D. is offered on campus to all female students, faculty and staff. If the instructors had it their way, every woman on campus would participate in the program before they finish their stint at TU. 

On a campus that is 61% female including students, faculty and staff, that would potentially be about 15,000 matriculates.  In reality, we could never handle teaching that many students, but Corporal Larry Bell believes deeply that women would be both safer and more confident if they invested their time in the class.  It would increase their strength, agility, and astuteness.  His wife took the class and he hopes his three daughters will do so in the future.

TU Public Safety Executive Administrative Assistant, Jean Comer-West, has taught the class since 2003.   Her oldest daughter has taken it and returned numerous times to tape the class to demonstrate to students how they are handling themselves.  Jean says she has never regretted a minute of the extra time she must spend on campus in this service.  Every class has been different but always rewarding.

Women taking the R.A.D. class participate in similar exercises to the one pictured above. (Image courtesy of OK Mixed Martial Arts)

Corporal Bell and Ms. Comer-West were joined by Corporal Kia Williams last year.  The trio of determined Public Safety employees is a potent one.  They have shared hours of time, two of them for over ten years, learning and teaching the basic concepts of R.A.D:  risk awareness, risk reduction, recognition and avoidance. 

Once the theoretical part of the program is over, the tough part begins.  Corporal Bell dons a red protective suit and each class member must practice, practice, practice the physical defense portion of the program.  They are observed, taped, coaxed, and encouraged.  Being videotaped allows the women to have a different perspective on how they are approaching the “aggressor.”

“The process is both exhausting and exhilarating,” says Comer-West.  “I love teaching this class and passing on what women need to know.  I pray they never have to use the information, but I’m thrilled to watch our students wake up to how they should handle themselves.  I will be doing this as long as I am standing!”

Watch for Daily Digest notification of how to sign up for the class in April.  Though students have the top priority, faculty and staff may register too.  No one will fail and everyone will be the better for it!

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