LEICESTER, Mass. — The Leicester Police Department is offering a free basic R.A.D. self-defense course for women starting in March with the aim of empowering women and providing them with the skills to reduce risks.
"I believe that the R.A.D class is very important because it provides women with a defense strategy should they find themselves in a situation where they have no alternative but to defend themselves," Leicester Police Chief Jim Hurley said. "It teaches you how to avoid those situations, how to get out of a potentially difficult situation, and then, if need be, how to defend yourself."
The Rape Aggression Defense Systems course is offered to all women ages 12 and up and will be taught by Leicester Police Detective Timothy Fontaine.
The awareness and self-defense program differs from a karate class or advanced fighting class, Fontaine said. It gives women different but basic self-defense options.
"It's based on what they have with them all the time - their hands, their feet, their voice - their own personal weapons, as well as a good awareness of their environment," he said. "It empowers women, so they don't have to rely on their boyfriends, their husbands, their dogs."
The course includes a lecture on preparatory techniques and mindset as well as physical practice.
"Toward the end of the class, we do a simulation, where they're given protective gear and they get to practice the basic techniques if an aggressor was going to attack them," Fontaine said.
"The goal of the program is to learn all the defensive techniques, the defensive mindset and to help them get away," he said. "The best attack you can be in is one that you're not in."
It's important to offer the program to the community, Hurley said.
"Every year we have young women going off to college and out in the working world," he said. "If it helps one person avoid a situation where they can be harmed, then it's definitely worth the investment we're putting into it."
The 10-hour course will be held in four consecutive sessions from 6 to 8:30 p.m. beginning Wednesday, March 13, at Leicester Primary School.
To sign up or find out more about the program, contact Fontaine at 508-892-7010, Ext. 2016.