R.A.D. gives women tools to defend themselves

Self-defense is about empowerment, says UAB Deputy Chief Zandral Washington.

“It gives you options to survive an attack,” she said.

Washington, a certified instructor, is one of several who have been teaching a Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) program free to UAB employees and students for more than 20 years. The self-defense and awareness training, which is offered several times during the year, teaches women the essentials of fighting back and fighting back effectively.

“They taught us techniques to get away safely and to survive,” said graduate student Tyea Johnson, who completed the course in June and is shown defending herself in this video.

The women wear protective gear during the hands-on training as do the would-be aggressors —UAB Police Sergeant Javier Lawson and Corporal Steven Gladden — who also are certified instructors.

The training works, says Marilyn Durrah, an administrative support specialist with UAB Police, who used her training to deter someone who made her feel threatened in a parking lot.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Durrah said. “If anything feels suspicious, act on it. That gut [feeling], that sixth sense, is there for a reason.”

UAB's Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) is a 12-hour course, taught during three, four-hour sessions.

The next class is Sept. 18-20. Call Tonya Webb, 934-2409, or Washington, 996-2247, to register.