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UIPD encourages women to take self-defense training into their own hands

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UIPD encourages women to take self-defense training into their own hands

An emergency pole seen on the quad.

An emergency pole seen on the quad.

The Daily Illini File Photo

An emergency pole seen on the quad.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

An emergency pole seen on the quad.

By Lauren Scafidi, Staff Writer

With frequent assaults occurring on campus, the UIPD encourages female students to learn self-defense. One easy and free way for them to do so is through the Rape Aggression Defense System class.

The waitlist to sign up for the University class is now available for the spring. The semesterly Rape Agression Defense System class teaches participants about awareness, prevention, risk-reduction and avoidance of rape, in addition to basic hands-on, self-defense training.

The course has been around for about 20 years. For the past eight years, University of Illinois Police Detective Becky Lauher has organized the class and volunteered to teach it.

“I enjoy teaching, and I enjoy interacting with students on campus to show the importance for women to be aware of what’s going on around them,” Lauher said. “The course is a great way to reach out to students and provide an avenue of how to look out and defend themselves if they need to.”

Though the course gives priority to students, it is open to all women in the community as well as children.

The course is 12 hours in total. Students meet three hours per week for four weeks.

The first part of the class takes place in the classroom, highlights what to look for in situations and offers risk reduction strategies in those situations. For example, if someone’s at home, the class will offer ideas on how to maintain awareness involving aspects such as lighting, bushes and types of locks on doors.

Additionally, if someone is being followed in a vehicle or the vehicle becomes disabled, the class offers suggestions on how to handle these kinds of situations.

The class even provides information on how to use public transportation safely, as well as safe dating tips.

After the information component is completed, instructors demonstrate physical techniques such as blocking and striking techniques and how to get out of wrist grabs.

The class culminates in a dynamic simulation, where instructors put on protective suits and students are able to practice their newly acquired skills.

After this specific part of the course, Lauher said she always hears students say they feel empowered and that they didn’t know they were capable of performing some of the techniques, which are catered toward the physical capabilities of women.

The Women’s Resource Center on campus co-sponsors the class along with a few other organizations, including the Illini Union Bookstore, the Division of Campus Recreation and University Housing.

Patricia Morey, director at the Women’s Resource Center, said the center is very grateful to be a part of the Rape Agression Defense System class because rape is a main focus on college campuses internationally.

According to the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 23.1 percent of undergraduate females experience sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation.

Lauher said she wishes there wasn’t a need to teach a self-defense course on campus every semester, but she is happy to make students safer in a threatening situation.

The first class in the spring session begins April 6th.

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