Since 1989, Rowan University’s Department of Public Safety has offered the Rape Aggression Defense System program—a course that emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk education, and avoidance of various types of assault while also introducing the basics of hands-on self-defense.
This semester, the University will be offering this course over two days in Room 221 of the Student Center, with dates and times still being determined. The class was supposed to take place on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 and was postponed. It will be open to all students, faculty, and staff without charge.
Rowan Public Safety Investigator Laura Gauge says that she always asks a simple question when students first come in to take the lessons: “How comfortable are you with defending yourself?”
“Sometimes maybe we’re lucky if a quarter to half of the hands go up, but usually by the end of the class we have everybody raising their hand,” said Gauge.
In terms of physical self-defense, attendees can expect to learn basic kicks and punches, along with some other techniques. This is a hands-on course for each individual’s level of comfort, and it is recommended that students wear comfortable clothing and sneakers.
In a college environment, sexual assault is a prominent and lingering fear for women, with cases being reported on campuses frequently. According to the American Psychological Association, 25% of female college students report being victims of sexual assault, which is why this course has been so influential for Rowan students.
“It’s not just the mindset, but it’s the self-confidence. It’s empowering for women,” Gauge said. “Unfortunately we do still see a majority of assaults being primarily women, so I think it is very important that they not only know how to defend themselves but that they have the confidence and the knowledge of how to, and the mindset that they can.”
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