As an editor for The Eastern Progress, many of my Tuesday nights end around one the next morning — if I’m lucky. If you’ve never been on campus around that time of the night, then you won’t know how eerily silent the trek from the center of campus to the farther edges can be. As a female on this campus— as a female anywhere— this silence in the dead of night is frightening. Every twig snap makes you jump, every cough makes you grab your pepper spray and every male you see along your way is a potential threat.
So, my nightly walks to my car are sped up. I often put headphones in, and look at my phone. Sometimes I call a friend on the phone who can talk with me until I get to my destination, other nights I ask one of my fellow Progress editors to walk with me. It all depends on who’s available and how late my night ends.
This is why I attended the RAD Women’s Defense Class last weekend.
I was tired of being scared. I’m small, barely 5’0, and I often feel like I’m at a greater risk of abductions and other crimes because of it. I’m not very strong either, but pepper spray can only do so much if you even remember to grab it in the course of an attack. So, when I saw that a RAD class was coming up, I immediately enrolled and encouraged my other friends to do the same. I wanted to learn something new and to feel more confident on my nightly trips around campus.
The RAD class I attended was taught by Sgt. Brad Early with the EKU Police Department and lasted a total of 12 hours over two days. The first day was mainly paperwork and learning about the definitions of different risks and situations. We learned about how to protect ourselves not only when walking around campus, but also when living alone. The second day was all about physical defense tactics. I learned about different types of kicks, jabs, and defensive stances. Then, I got to put my teaching to good use in different situations where a suited-up Sgt. Early “attacked” me. The objective was for me to use what I had learned to defend myself and escape to the nearest exit. Although curse words were screamed, I completed my mission and effectively used my defensive skills to escape my encounter.
The prospect of spending 12 hours of my weekend in a class was daunting. But at the end of Saturday, I was happy that I had attended. I felt relieved and more confident in my skills. I think I am now better prepared to deal with any situation that arises, and I think Early did a good job of opening our eyes to potential risk-inhibitors that many of us do every single day.
I think it’s sad that women have to take self-defense classes, but I can’t change the way the world works. I can only maneuver my way through life with the hand I’ve been dealt. That begins with feeling comfortable enough to walk to my car, no matter what time of day it is.