Campus police offer classes on rape prevention

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    By MELINDA SEMADENI

    Rape awareness, experts say, is an important step in the prevention process to deter attackers and empower women against potential situations.

    “There are ways people can reduce their risk of becoming a victim,” said Mindy Woodhouse, team coordinator for the Utah County Rape Crisis Team. “The truth is we can reduce the risk, but we can’t always prevent it.”

    “Why wait until we have a victim?” said Lt. Greg Barber of the University Police.

    Barber and other officers are involved in several programs aimed at preventing rape and focusing on what can be done to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.

    The University Police offer sexual assault lectures on campus housing locations for incoming freshman each fall. Beginning this year, lectures are also offered Winter Semester.

    An additional aid is Health and Physical Education 129, a general education requirement for all BYU students. The class includes a mandatory lecture on rape, which focuses primarily on date rape and teaches how both males and females can approach this sensitive subject.

    BYU also sponsors a program called Rape Aggression Defense System through the PE department

    Sgt. Ryan Judd, officer for the University Police and trained RAD instructor, explained the RAD program as, “offering hands-on basic self defense training, specifically dealing with sexual assault.”

    RAD consists of a 15-week course with lectures and self-defense techniques, which include practicing on kicking bags and allowing participants to practice techniques with full-force contact. The last week of the course involves an assimilation night where participants suit-up and test out the techniques learned that semester.

    “RAD is designed for women of all age groups, sizes and physical conditions. In fact, two University of Utah athletes completed the RAD program at the BYU Salt Lake Extension Center,” Judd said.

    Students walking home alone from campus can also contact the Safewalk program and have a university policeman escort them safely home. Many local wards are also organizing escorts for female members to prevent them from walking home alone.

    “Victims have a choice to fight, flee or submit,” Barber said. Alternatives include carrying mace or pepper spray. Knives can also be carried if examined according to the following questions given by Barber: How well do I know how to use it? Where is it located? Is it accessible? Have I practiced using it? Could I use this on another human being? How well could I survive if this was being used against me?

    Suggestions from the University Police lecture also include having a plan in mind before the situation occurs and to work the scene out in your mind to avoid freezing up during the attack.

    Women can also learn to recognize attitudes as they date and learn to set clear boundaries in their relationship.

    Woodhouse said date or acquaintance rape is the most prevalent of sexual assaults. “Most victims know their attacker,” she said.

    A recent FBI report indicated one out of every three American women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime; one in seven women will be raped by their husband; and one in four college women will either have been raped or have suffered an attempted rape.

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