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Tales from Utah Valley: Self-defense courses offered by local police

By Laura Giles - Special to the Daily Herald | Mar 30, 2024

Ashley Franscell, Daily Herald file photo

Sami Baker, 15, of Highland, uses her elbow to hit a fake perpetrator during a simulation for a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) class for women on Friday, Aug. 28, 2009, at the Legacy Center in Lehi. Baker and her mother, Lisa, took the class to feel more confident if something ever happened to them.

Pleasant Grove’s police department is about to begin a R.A.D. (Rape Aggression Defense) course. This is something they do periodically, as do other law enforcement departments in the county.

R.A.D. is a program that offers a holistic approach to self-defense education, supporting the idea of continuous learning throughout life.

The course that the Pleasant Grove Police Department will be holding in April will be for female participants ages 12 and older. However, the R.A.D. program can also be taught to children, men and seniors. The classes are comprised of education, discussion and physical resistive strategies.

R.A.D. has more than 11,000 instructors receiving training, according to its website (rad-systems.com). The instructors teach at various colleges, universities and local law enforcement agencies as well as various other community organizations internationally. R.A.D. has trained more than 900,000 women since the program began in 1989.

So, why is there a need for courses such as these? In 2022, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting database reported that rape is the only violent crime in Utah with higher rates (55.5 per 100,000 people) than the national average (42.6 per 100,000 people).

Jeremy Hall

Laura Giles

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of all women and 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical violence in their lifetimes. Sexual violence consequences are physical as well as psychological and can include depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

Unfortunately, there is a need for self-defense courses, which can help to save lives and also increase self-confidence in those who are trained. Hopefully, our children and other loved ones will never need self-defense skills, but we want them — and ourselves — to be prepared, just in case.

April’s course with the Pleasant Grove Police Department will be held April 3, 10 and 17 from 6-9 p.m. in the Pleasant Grove Community Room in the police department building. Participants must be Pleasant Grove residents and able to attend all three classes in their entirety. Physical mobility is required because the class involves active resistance to violent encounters. The course is free of charge. For more information, check out the Pleasant Grove Police Department Facebook page. The department offers the course every few months.

If you’re not a resident of Pleasant Grove, don’t worry. Many local police departments offer the course at different times throughout the year. In fact, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office offers the R.A.D. course every few months. The next one will be held in April and May. For more information, check out sheriff.utahcounty.gov.


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