SIDNEY — The Sidney Police Department will hold a Rape Aggression and Defense program (RAD) through July and August for women in the area aged 13 and older.
“We’ve been doing this class now for a little over seven years. The design of the class is really to instill confidence and ability in females when it comes to defending themselves in a dangerous situation,” Sidney Police Chief William Balling said.
The class, which will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays from July 22 to Aug. 12, is split into four 3-hour sessions and cover everything from being observant and aware of surroundings to self-defense methods. While RAD was created in 1989 by former Marine and police officer Lawrence N. Nadeau, the program has been taught through the Sidney Police Department for seven years now. The goal of the program is to show women how to keep themselves and their families safe — as well as help build a society where violence isn’t tolerated. This year, the department is partnering with Shelby County Crime Stoppers and the Shelby County Prosecutors office.
“We encourage mothers to bring daughters with them, we encourage people going into college — females experiencing college life for the first time — to attend the class because it can really show them how not to put themselves in a bad situation, and what to do on campus, from the verbal skills to draw attention to the situation to show confidence to get out of the dangerous situation, to even some physical skills to show them they have the ability to fight off an attacker,” Balling said.
Balling said the department always gets a positive response from the community about the RAD program. Many people who have participated end up coming back, and he’s heard from students that they did not know that they had it in them to use their voice and stand up for themselves against an attacker.
“We see the change and the growth, especially for the younger students. They’re a little scared and timid at first, so they’re quiet. When we’re teaching them the strikes and different things physically, they’re not going one hundred percent. We see their confidence grows as the classes go on,” Balling said.
On the last day of the class, an officer dresses in a padded suit and students get to “go all out” with physical defense.
“To see their confidence from the day one to the end day is amazing on how much it changes. They go from somebody who’s a little hesitant to defend themselves to somebody who is screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs and doing everything they can to push off this attacker,” Balling said.
Those interested in the class should be ready to come in with an open mind and a willingness to participate. Balling emphasized that RAD is a building block class where participants don’t need to have skills prior to attending. Women of all physical abilities can take the class because it builds upon an individual’s ability.
“There are too many times where females are a victim. People find themselves in a bad situation, and being prepared ahead of time is the key to surviving that situation. People can really do amazing things if you give them the confidence to let them do it,” Balling said. “There’s always going to be risk in life, but it’s how you manage it and reduce it to overcome these things.”
Those interested in participating in the RAD program can contact Community Resource Officer Bryce Stewart at [email protected] or call him at 937-498-2351 to register for the class.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Police Department, 234 W. Court St., Sidney.