The University of West Georgia has many precautions set up to avoid any dangerous situations on campus, such as countless police officers and emergency call boxes. One unique aspect to UWG safety is a special program designated strictly for female safety.
The Rape Aggression Defense Basic Personal Defense System (RAD) is a personal self-defense course taught solely to women in increments of four sessions. The entire program started in the 1980s, but UWG’s program has been around for around 10 years.  One of the instructors, Sergeant Mike Keener, has been with the course since 2007. The course focuses on teaching women how to defend themselves when someone attacks them. “I’ve had women in my life who have been sexually assaulted, so it’s a very personal thing to me,” said Keener.
Keener feels it is important for women to learn basic self-defense. “We live in a bad world, and women are making great strides in some aspects, but it seems like it’s falling behind in other aspects. Rape is now becoming a weapon to use against people,” said Keener.
Keener and the RAD program strive to open women’s minds about the world, something that most freshmen struggle with when first coming to college. “The most difficult part is taking a bunch of fresh faced young women who have this typical world view of coming to college and everything is wonderful, and trying to instill in them the knowledge that they live in a very dangerous world and they are huge targets,” said Keener. He tries to make students recognize that college is fun, but you have to be aware and understand it is not all perfect.
Something else that Keener has been trying to stress to his students is that UWG’s campus is not as safe as some might think. “People come to college and they think, ‘oh it’s wonderful, there’s all this partying, dating, knowledge, education,’” said Keener.  “They don’t realize on campus there are rapists; there are people selling drugs who will kill you for money or your tennis shoes. They don’t understand if you put your wallet down at the gym, it’s going to be stolen.”
The course isn’t entirely frightening. Keener and the other instructors strive to help women who are shy come out of their skin. “The rewarding part is seeing women come into the class who are meek with blinders on and by the time they leave the class, they are confident and confident in their safety. They are going to be safer from the knowledge I’ve given them,” said Keener.
The program has grown greatly in the past 10 years, and Keener is one of the many reasons why. “I’ve taken it to where we typically have 13 women for a class, where we were having one or two women show up. So far, it’s been very successful,” said Keener.
For more information about the RAD program, visit http://www.westga.edu/police/index_3953.php.

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