Sexual Assault: Prevention and Defense
3 years ago
Jamie ParkStaff Writer
To read about IFC’s initiative click here.
The Dean of Students Office handles all cases of sexual misconduct on campus, and all cases have to be reported to UTDPD.
The Student Counseling Center provides help with recovery for victims of sexual assault.
“I want to encourage people to come in when something happens,” said Sharon Bowles, a counseling specialist and sexual assault liaison at the center. “I think often people are so embarrassed and so demoralized from going through an assault that they want to just hole up … and try to pretend it never happened, but that strategy doesn’t work for very long.”
The UniTeD Against Sexual Assault Project aims to educate students through a variety of programs.
Among the several preventative programs available on campus, the Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, classes taught by UTDPD are very popular, said Sgt. Kendra Penny, the instructor who leads these courses.
This two-day course teaches self-defense against sexual assault and prevention tactics. It is offered for free on campus every month and open to all female students and faculty, but unaffiliated members of the community are welcome to register as well.
Penny said the course empowers women to feel safe when facing difficult situations.
“A lot of women feel like there aren’t any options, and they don’t have the confidence. We instill that confidence in them that they can defend themselves and they can survive,” Penny said.
The nationwide program requires its instructors to be certified. The male instructors, who act as assailants in the course, are sent through a special sensitizing training that makes them aware of how disempowered a woman feels when she is assaulted.
“I still have those same fears,” Penny said. “Even as a police officer, I still think that, but also I feel confident in my ability to protect myself. That’s the confidence we want to instill in these women.”
While statistics often state that victims are most often assaulted by acquaintances, she said the RAD program helps students treat all assaults equally at an emotional level.
“There’s no such thing as acquaintance rape because that’s society trying to minimize the fact that rape is rape,” Penny said.
The next RAD class will be on Oct. 25 and 26.