The SIU Department of Public Safety is instructing women of all ages to be prepared to fight for their safety in any situation.
Sgt. Chad Beights of DPS who has taught the program for eight years, said the class usually has about 20 people sign up. This year enrollment has doubled, he said.
Beights said the three-day program—which started Wednesday—teaches women the basics of self-defense for everyday life annually since 2002.
“I think with a lot of the stuff recently happening on campus, we have gotten an overwhelming number of responses from people wanting to take the class,” Beights said. “[It’s] to the point where I had to refer people to go to a November class.”
He said concerns about violence against women in American culture have also spurred more interest.
“I think what’s going on in society, not only in Carbondale, is prompting people to sign up for the class,” he said.
Beights said a majority of participants are students from the university, but some faculty members along with high school-aged people attend the class.
He said Rape, Aggression, Defense Systems, also known as R.A.D., is the network that developed the certifications and curriculum for the program.
The program includes a lecture, discussion and defense techniques suitable for women of all ages and abilities, according to the R.A.D website. Classes are a minimum of nine hours depending on the instructor.
“Their goal is to develop and enhance the options of self-defense so they become considerations for women to use,” Beights said.
Brenda Escutia, a senior from Rolling Meadows studying social work, said she thinks the program was beneficial for her.
“The main thing was that the program wasn’t just to teach you some self defense moves or neat tricks, but to basically make you aware of your surroundings to avoid getting in that situation to begin with,” Escuita said.
She said her parents were overprotective with her coming to school here because of the recent criminal activity in Carbondale.
She said when going to the library at night alone, carrying pepper spray was not enough protection for her parent’s standards. Escuita attended the program last year as well.