Women learn to defend themselves, must keep skills secret

Women warned not to show off new self-defense techniques

Wayne State University Police are teaching women life-saving skills should they ever come face-to-face with an attacker, but there's a catch -- they can't share what they learn.

There is a very good reason for that.

"Do not go home and show your boyfriend, 'look what I learned today, why don't you try something?' because unfortunately, good relationships can go bad," said Lt. Dave Scott of the Wayne State University Police Department. "We don't want women giving away their secrets that we now know how to protect themselves by giving away the information to a male that may turn out to be an aggressor at some point down the road."

Scott said close to 1,000 women have been through the RAD or the Rape Aggression Defense program at the university. It's open to female students, staff or women who are related to someone who works at or attends the school.

"Many women come to our class and say, 'I've never been in a fight. I don't know how to defense myself,'" Scott said. "Women attend RAD because they don't want to rely on anyone else to defend them in a situation, and they want to be able to do it themselves.

The basic RAD class teaches women how to avoid situations where they could be assaulted and the skills to fight off one long enough to get to safety.

"The proper way to punch, kick, block, some tactical ground fighting skills to get out of a potential sexual assault," said Scott.

After taking the basic RAD class, women can take the Advanced RAD class to learn more self-defense skills, more tactical ground fighting, fighting from a prone position, fighting multiple aggressors and fighting in diffused or reduced light. 

Wayne State Police also offers a RAD weapons class to teach techniques to fight off something trying to assault you with a knife or firearm.

Women who attended the basic class said they cannot put a price on the skills they learn.

"This knowledge of knowing how to defend yourself, if you ever have to, is just priceless," said student Jessica Lumley.

"It's really opened up my mind, I have more options than I knew before taking the class," said Charisse Ormanian, a counselor at the university.

"It was amazingly empowering. It just felt like you could stand up to anything," said Kim, who attended the class.

Lumley is a student at Wayne State. The Livonia native warns others that are relying on guns or knives for personal protection could become a big problem and that learning self defense should be a priority.

"You do need it because you have a knife, you have a gun, it gets knocked out of your hands and then what do you do? You're screwed," said Lumley.

"The problem you have with people who are carrying lethal weapons to defend themselves is those lethal weapons can be used against them and then you have a person who might very well suffers a serious or mortal injury because of something that was taken away from them," Scott said.

On the final night of the class, women are able to test their new skills in simulations. It helped build confidence in those Local 4 talked to following the class.

"Your instinct kicks in and you just do what you need to to get out of there," said Charisse.

Lumley said taking the class has changed how she will act around campus.

"Definitely more aware of my surroundings, knowing how to act, knowing how to look, that I'm not a target and never a victim," said Lumley.

Counselors are present during the RAD classes in case they're needed. Women who were once attacked can find the training very difficult and emotional.

Click here for more information on the self defense programs Wayne State University Police provides.

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