R.A.D. program teaches students self-defense


BYU and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office offer the Rape Aggression Defense program, also known as R.A.D., to students and others who live in Utah County.

R.A.D. is recognized worldwide as a premiere self-defense program. Both BYU and the Utah County Sheriff’s Department offer the class for women of all ages and backgrounds. Participants learn 27 skills that help them enter the world with more confidence and less fear. 

Mary Mauck is a lead instructor for BYU’s Rape Aggression Defense program. She is a survivor herself.

“I can speak from personal experience that these are phenomenal skills to know. I’m here because of it, and they can be here because of it,” Mauck said.

Mauck said she has used these skills to protect not only herself but her children as well. She has made it her mission to teach other women the skills that changed her life.

“If there are any women out there who have been victimized in any way, it’s important for them to realize that they have resources and that they have people rooting for them,” Mauck said.

Jennifer Robinson also serves as a lead instructor and program coordinator for R.A.D. but through the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

“We’re offering many different options for women to come in and learn techniques that could help them escape or prevent an attack, and they get to choose which options work the best for them,” Robinson said.

These options are offered at no cost for locals. Robinson said she remembers the confidence and empowerment she felt after completing her first class.

“This is a program that is designed for every woman of every age, of every size, of every health condition,” Robinson said.

Richard Laursen is an investigative sergeant with the BYU Police Department and a R.A.D. instructor. Laursen said he sees the real-life scenarios for which R.A.D. prepares women to defend themselves against.

“They get that confidence that comes from direct impact with a striker or a kick to a target location, and as instructors we get to experience that with them,” Laursen said.  

Robinson said something that sets R.A.D. apart is the dynamic simulation that happens at the end of the course.

“This is an opportunity for participants, for women in our program, to practice the techniques that they’ve learned on a real person. With protective gear and with proper certifications the women are allowed to use the techniques and skills that they’ve learned in the context of an assault or an abduction,” Robinson said.

Mauck showed and explained some of the equipment used in the R.A.D. class including elbow pads, knee pads, impact targets, impact shields, chest guards, helmets with cages, gloves and a Kubotan, a mini baton that can attach to a keychain.

All the instructors said the change in the women from day one to the end of the course is remarkable to witness. BYU offers a once-a-week evening class of the R.A.D. program every semester. The Utah County Sheriff’s office website has more information on when and where their programs are offered. 

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