Today: May 29, 2024

Rape Aggression Defense offered to women on campus

If a woman at Southern Connecticut State University, like senior Kristen O’Donnell, walked alone on campus at night, she might have said she felt anxious or vulnerable, but after a month long session of hands-on defense training, she might be able to sleep better at night knowing she could defend herself if harm came her way.

The Rape Aggression Defense System is a women’s-only program at SCSU that teaches self-defense tactics and techniques while also teaching awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance according to the Southern’s police department.

“I believe [R.A.D.] will empower women,” said O’Donnell, “because they need to be aware of their surroundings and to be ready for anything that occurs at any time.”

Officer Abbey Pantani is one of five SCSU police officers that coordinates R.A.D. for the women on campus looking to self-defend themselves, get exercise and even gain confidence through the one month long program located in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom.

“R.A.D. is important because self-defense is an invaluable tool to have,” said Pantani. “This program is offered to the women here and it is free, so they should really take advantage of it while it is being offered.”

According to Crisis Connection, 45 percent of attempted rapes take place on campus, 60 percent of campus rapes that take place on campus occur in the victim’s residence, and 31 percent occur in another residence. And only 10 percent of women report rape to the police or campus police at their school.

Pre-nursing major Heather Refalo said her friend told her about the program and while she said she enjoys how fun it is while getting in shape at the same time, she takes R.A.D. seriously and hopes to use it for one of her requirements in an upcoming class.

“I thought of doing a program on [R.A.D],” said Refalo, “because as a community coordinator, I need to sponsor an educational program throughout the upcoming semester, and I was thinking of this as an idea.”

Though some students like O’Donnell said she uses caution at night on campus, other students like Kristen Relihan, English education major, said although she feels safe knowing that the campus is well-lit at night and SCSU police are always around, off campus in New Haven is a bit different.

LAURA CUCURELLOSpecial to Southern News

“I do feel safe,” said Relihan, “because SCSU cops are always around on their bikes or cars constantly on watch during the day and especially at night, but once you are off of campus it can get a little scary. That’s why I feel the more you attend R.A.D. the more you can protect yourself.”

To learn more information on R.A.D or to sign up visit or call 203-392-5375, as space is limited according to Pantani.

Although R.A.D. involves strength, motivation and time Officer Pantani said she assures women that it is not a difficult or strenuous class to take, as she said she feels that every woman should learn self-defense and thinks it should be offered in other schools as well.

“This class isn’t a martial arts program,” said Pantani “It’s more practical than that and I hope women realize that. I believe every university and even high school should have a program like this in their school because in today’s society, you just never know what could happen.”

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