Self-defense class worth considering

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Considering the possible benefits, the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) System class offered through the Denton Police Department may be one of the best bargains available.

The class is for women only and offers a mix of lectures and training in techniques of physical resistance. It meets for four hours one night a week for four weeks, instructors said. The only fee required is $10 for a training manual.

Officials estimate that more than 2,000 women have completed the program since its inception at the Denton Police Department by Lt. Michael Beutner in 1998.

The benefits, officials said, include greater awareness and self-confidence.

“The training you receive is worth it; the change [in the students] from one class to the last is incredible. They really are empowered,” said Investigator Brandon Hobon, an instructor since 2011.

After going through the RAD class, a recent student filed a police report instead of letting herself continue to be victimized.

“This is something that we go over in the course — filing a report,” said Investigator Rachel Fleming, who’s been teaching RAD classes since 2007. “These women aren’t victims, they are survivors.”

Information obtained from Denton police shows that 73 sexual assault cases were reported last year — 29 more than were reported in 2011. Those numbers only reflect reported sexual assaults not tied with a Child Protective Services investigation. The increase over the past year, detectives believe, is because of increased awareness to report the assaults.

One woman, Fleming said, continuously asked about putting a child safety seat in her car at the first class and then later, because of her heightened awareness, the woman was able to tell when two men were about to approach her at the park while she had her back turned putting the seat in the car. “Because of this, she was able to avoid a potential conflict,” Fleming said.

Demand for the class is high, but plans call for the department to send eight officers to the RAD Systems International Training and Certification Conference in San Antonio later this month. Beutner said the trip will certify two more officers for basic training and provide other instructors with more advanced-level training — bringing the total officers certified to teach the basic course from eight to 10.

Instructors said they are starting to look at having their first advanced class — for those looking for more detailed training — in December.

Graduates of the basic class receive a lifetime return policy and quite a few, Fleming said, take the chance to brush up on their skills.

“Victims are chosen, and when you walk away with a greater self awareness, I think you are less likely to be chosen,” she said.

Classes are now registering for ages 16 and older. If anyone is interested in attending an upcoming class, contact Beutner at Mike.Beutner@cityofdentoncom or 940-349-7900 for September classes and Lt. David Mays at David.Mays@cityofdenton.com or 940-349-7945 for October classes. The August class is filled.

The RAD classes are well worth the time required, and we encourage women of all ages to consider signing up for a session.

You never know when the lessons could be the difference between surviving or becoming a victim.


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