Women invited to take part in self-defense program on campus

October 17, 2023
By: Paul Davey

Safety is a top priority for most people, but it is not always a guarantee. Worcester State’s R.A.D. program aims to prepare women for dangerous situations by providing them with the skills necessary to defend themselves. “We always push that we’re going to teach you these great self-defense options,” said Don Brickman, one of the program’s instructors at Worcester State, “but we hope you never use them.”

The program is free and open to all female students, faculty, and staff, and registration is open until Oct. 18. The course will be held in four three-hour sessions starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19,  Oct. 26, Nov. 2, and Nov. 9. To take part, email dbrickman@worcester.edu or call 508-929-8044 with questions.

R.A.D., or Rape Aggression Defense, is an organization dedicated to instructing participants on how to defend themselves from a violent attack. Founded in 1989, the program has more than 11,000 certified instructors worldwide and has trained more than 900,000 women.

R.A.D. instructor Susan Vigeant and Don Brickman will lead the self defense course starting Oct. 19. (Photo by Colin Joyal)

Worcester State’s R.A.D. program is led by instructors Capt. Don Brickman, Susan Vigeant of University Advancement, and Eliza Kelley, head coach of the school’s women’s ice hockey team. Brickman is the captain of Worcester State’s police department and has nearly a decade of experience as a R.A.D. instructor.

According to Brickman, R.A.D. provides last-resort strategies that can be useful when all other methods of self preservation have been unsuccessful. “Even speaking as a de-escalation instructor on the law enforcement side, sometimes a kind word and a, ‘Please step away from me,’ doesn’t work.” He hopes that the course will help women feel more confident in their ability to defend themselves if they ever need to.

The R.A.D. program features a mix of lecture-based instruction and hands-on practice of self-defense skills. The final session of the course is simulation night, where students get to try out the skills and techniques they have acquired against an instructor wearing a padded suit. Vigeant stressed that the instructors will accommodate any student who wishes to take the class, regardless of their physical ability. “Something that I have heard in the past is ‘I’m not athletic, so I can’t take this class,’” said Vigeant. “That’s absolutely not true. This class is for everyone.”

Top photo: R.A.D. instructors Don Brickman and Susan Vigeant demonstrate a self-defense technique that they will be teaching in the course. (Photo by Colin Joyal)

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