The Rape Aggression Defense System, more commonly known as R.A.D., is the largest women’s self-defense organization in the United States and Canada, according to R.A.D Systems.
It was founded in 1989 by Lawrence Nadeau, whose background consists of an honorable discharge from the U.S. Marines followed by service in civilian law enforcement, according to R.A.D. Systems.
R.A.D. classes are offered on the BYU-Idaho campus to female students for $5, making it considerably more affordable and accessible than other self-defense systems, said Doug Barker, a security patrol administrator at BYU-I and an instructor trainer for R.A.D.
R.A.D. is part of the course curriculum for HS 331 Women’s Health, as well as classes coordinated through Life Skills each semester, Barker said. Class dates for R.A.D. have yet to be announced.
R.A.D. was created to fill the void left by women’s self-defense classes that offered lectures on avoidance and prevention but no physical self-defense training, according to the R.A.D Participant Manual. It is endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), according to R.A.D Systems.
The objective of the R.A.D. System is to develop and enhance the options of self-defense so they may become viable considerations to the woman who is attacked, according to the R.A.D. Participant Manual.
R.A.D. not only teaches physical self-defense, according to the R.A.D. Participant Manual, it encourages the development of personal safety habits and continual practice of those habits.
“The biggest thing is empowering women,” Barker said. “This is not just for the women of Rexburg, Idaho. It’s for women everywhere, wherever they go for the rest of their lives.” Barker has been instructing R.A.D. classes at BYU-I for 14 years.
The skills taught in a R.A.D. class are applicable to personal safety, no matter where a person lives. R.A.D. takes a proactive view on self-defense, telling women that it is okay to be able to protect themselves, Barker said.
Some topics discussed in a R.A.D. class include situational awareness, preparedness, theft prevention, date rape violence and domestic violence, according to the R.A.D. Participant Manual. Most of the teachings are common knowledge that people often forget or become lax about, Barker said.
Ninety percent of self-defense education consists of the four risks of personal safety: risk awareness, risk reduction, risk recognition and risk avoidance, according to the R.A.D. Participant Manual. R.A.D. classes begin in the classroom, learning these principles of awareness as a foundation for creating habits, Barker said.
The other 10 percent of self-defense education is hands-on practice. In class, students are taught proper striking and kicking techniques, escape maneuvers and some ground fighting, according to the R.A.D Participant Manual. Hands-on practice fosters muscle memory, allowing students to access their skills and knowledge if the need should arise, Barker said.
All skill levels are invited and encouraged to participate in R.A.D. classes.
“Anybody can do this,” Barker said. “You don’t have to change your life to make these basics work for you.” R.A.D. was founded on basics that are accessible and effective for anyone, Barker said.
R.A.D. is unique in that it offers a “Lifetime Practice Policy,” which allows R.A.D. practitioners to return to any R.A.D. class, anywhere and at any time, to continue to practice their skills completely cost-free, according to the R.A.D Participant Manual. If a student takes the R.A.D. class in Rexburg, she can practice anywhere else R.A.D. is taught.
“How many dads, brothers, boyfriends and husbands want the women they love to be able to defend themselves?” Barker said. Though the class is only offered to women on this campus, promotion of personal safety is not limited to only women; it is everyone’s responsibility, Barker said.
Susan B. Anthony once said, “Woman must not depend on the protection of man but must be taught to defend herself,” according to the R.A.D. Participant Manual.
Taking a self-defense class like R.A.D. is a step toward prioritizing personal safety, Barker said.
“Who is ultimately responsible for your personal safety?” Barker said. “You are.”