Mason Police hope to combat sexual assault with defense classes


Rubi X. Chavez, a Mason graduate, demonstrates self-defense techniques against Lt. Kevin Barrett, an officer with the GMUPD, Tuesday Sept 28 at a gym on campus. She took a previous RAD class as a member of the GMUPD Police Cadet Program. (Antonieta Rico) 

George Mason University Police officials instructing the upcoming Rape Aggression Defense class hope to make a difference in national statistics that say 1 in 3 college women will experience a sexual assault in their lifetime. 

The Mason Police Department is offering a two-day RAD class, Oct. 16-17, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Recreation and Athletic Complex. The class is free to all female students as well as other women affiliated with the university like faculty, employees and family members.
 
Instructors for the class hope that women will come away from the experience knowing they do not just have to put up with a harasser and that they have many options in preventing or dealing with an attack.
 
“You can do something. You don’t just have to take it,” said Lt. Kevin Barrett, an officer with the Mason police department and a RAD instructor. Barrett said he hopes women will learn to have “greater self confidence in themselves … in their ability to realize that they don’t have to just be a victim.”
 
The self-defense class can give women a sense of empowerment, said police sergeant Patricia Millan, another RAD instructor. She said it teaches women to speak up if they feel uncomfortable or do something about a harassing situation. The first part of the class is lecture and techniques and during the last part of the course women will learn hands-on self-defense methods.
 
Millan said the class is the first step in making a plan in case of an attack.
“It takes that freeze factor away,” said Rubi X. Chavez, a Mason graduate who took the class as a member of the Police Cadet program.
 
She said she learned how to think fast and respond in case of an attack. “It challenges you to step out of this gentle and shy personality, and be aggressive,” Chavez said.
 
But aggressive does not mean you are rude or ready to fight, Millan said.
In the class, teaching a student to be aggressive means students learn to be confident when telling a harasser to leave them alone and also learn to protect themselves from potential attackers, said Chavez.
 
“You have to be aggressive to defend yourself,” Chavez said.
 
The class is free of charge for Mason female students and other women affiliated with the university, but non-Mason women can also take the class for $50.
 
Another class will be held Nov. 20-21 at the Prince Williams Campus in the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center. 
 
To sign up for the classes contact Barrett at 703-993-2800 or stop by the Police and Safety Headquarters building, in front of the Rappahannock River Parking Deck. For more information you can also send an e-mail to rad@gmu.edu.
 
Related:
 >> Search past C2M coverage of Mason Police
 
 
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This article first appeared in the Monday, Oct. 4 issue of Broadside. Its lede has been edited since its original publication.