R.A.D. offers women reasonable self-defense tactics

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R.A.D. offers women reasonable self-defense tactics

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Johnson State College teamed up with Lamoille County Special Investigation Unit to hold two days of Rape Aggression Defense sessions Nov. 16-17. The self-defense program was opened to any female in the community age 16 and up. According to the R.A.D. website, this program consists of “realistic self-defense tactics and techniques for women.”

The local certified instructors included Jesse Sawyer, detective for the LCSIU, Christian Watson, deputy sheriff for Lamoille County, and Anne Smith, the victim advocate at the Lamoille County attorney’s office.

All women of applicable age were encouraged to attend.

“Unfortunately, some people still believe that rural areas are somehow less dangerous than urban areas,” Laurie Marcoux, the administrative assistant for the LCSIU, said in an email interview. “The fact is, even in Vermont, rural areas experience the same type of crime found in large cities throughout the country…usually on a smaller scale. So in terms of statistics, rural areas and urban areas are very much the same when it comes to crime and safety. Some statistics have even shown that cites are ‘safer’ than rural areas…following the theory of ‘safety in numbers.

“Regardless of statistics, crime can happen anywhere, at anytime. In this class, we discuss various methods of personal safety that can be applied to any environment. Another important thing to note is that nearly 90 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone that the victim knows. Although random sexual assaults can and do occur, they are the not typical.”

According to Michael Palagonia, director of public safety at JSC, there’s relatively low crime on campus, but it’s not crime free. Most violations are alcohol use and marijuana.

The Public Safety department was not involved with the R.A.D. sessions, but Palagonia stressed the need for some common-sense precautions: “The first thing I would mention here is this:  Always carry your cell phone, have it charged.  Never walk alone, always tell someone where you’re going.  Carry a flashlight, and/or walk where it’s lit.  Call for a ride, either from us or from a friend.  If you are attacked, scream loudly, and run.  If you can’t run, fight. Call 911 and then report it to us following an incident.  I can say this type of incident is very rare, and I can’t recall one situation like this in all my years working here.”

The LCSIU tries to hold two self-defense courses per year with enrollment limited to 20 people. Marcoux noted that if there was enough interest they may possibly run another class in the spring. People can email her at info@lamoillesiu.org.

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