NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — With all exits blocked, vision impaired, and a crowd of aggressors surrounding her, the Rape Aggression Defense Systems student sprung into action. Utilizing the training she received from the class, she acted quickly as the Airmen playing the role of aggressors swept in to incapacitate her. “No!,” the R.A.D. Systems student yelled, as she spun to face her attacker, ready to fight back.
Ten Airmen participated in the Rape Aggression Defense System course to become certified as instructors here Sept. 18, 2012.
Although evaluation is constant to determine a student’s certification, there are four key areas that are looked at specifically.
“There are four tasks they have to achieve in order to become certified instructors,” Kathy Wright, R.A.D. Systems of Self-Defense director of women’s programs said. “The first one is that they have to maintain an active, ego free environment and stay involved in the class. Second, they have to participate in the simulation exercise. Third, they take a practical test where they display all physical techniques that they learned. Lastly, they take a written test which is all of the information that they learned in the manual.”
The simulation portion of the training had students physically interacting with a simulated aggressor. After practicing defense techniques, the students were then asked to react to the exercise while wearing protective equipment.
“The student suit is designed for their protection during the physical portion of the class,” Wright said. “It provides them protection from the environment. If they stumble, fall to their knees, or stagger backward into a wall, they will be defended from injury. We always protect their head, and the gloves that they wear still allow them to execute all the techniques that we teach them.”
The extra equipment added a lot to the actual simulation when putting their new techniques to the test.
“I thought it was awesome,” Staff Sgt. Sereese Davis, 99th Air Base Wing command post controller said. “It was a lot harder being in the suit then I thought it was going to be. I felt that the mask impaired my vision. It was making it harder to think but that makes it a good experience.”
“Once I heard ‘get in your stance’ it was on,” Master Sgt. Estefanie Wanous, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron viper specialist section noncommissioned officer in charge said. “I don’t remember yelling ‘no’ but I know I did because I’m slightly hoarse. This gives you a chance to evaluate and practice, in case it is real.”
From day one of the class to the end of the simulation training, the instructors noticed a change in the students, Wright said.
“This class is going wonderfully,” Wendy Vasquez Ernest, certified R.A.D. systems instructor said. “They are doing a great job and there is a lot of determination within them from the moment they sat here on the first day. They have grown within themselves and you can tell they learned a lot.”
Through the R.A.D. Systems of Self-Defense classes, the instructors have felt that they have walked away with just as much of a learning experience as the students and often believe they have truly improved their confidence, Wright said.
“Marketing uses the word ‘empowerment’ frequently because it has impact,” Wright said. “Unfortunately when you over use a word it starts to lose some of its impact, but here it’s very real. You see the women that come to this class, who may be the woman who doesn’t make eye contact and has a closed posture, and that woman at the end of the class leaves your class with her head up, shoulders back, and walking with purpose.”
Upon completion of the class, the certified Airmen will be qualified to teach the class and spread the knowledge they have learned to other Airmen.