Published online at NTDaily.com on 11/10/16
The Denton Police Department hosted a self-defense course Monday as part of the Rape Aggression Defense Training program. Women of all ages gathered at the Denton Public Safety Training Center, shared stories and trained together to better equip themselves for dangerous situations.
“The rate of sexual assault against women is many times higher than against men,” Denton police spokesperson Orlando Hinojosa said. “Men cannot be allowed to continue acting this way toward women. In the meantime, empowering women to defend themselves is only reasonable.”
The Denton Police Department has hosted RAD since 1998. The four-class bundle costs $15 and teaches risk awareness, reduction and avoidance as well as physical tactics for self-defense. The program was started by Lawrence N. Nadeau in 1989 and has trained more than 900,000 women. Denton Police Officer Lori Morin has been a RAD instructor since 2013 and said the class is a confidence booster for women.
“I think with technology people get complacent with thinking the world is a safe place and there’s no bad people out to hurt them until unfortunately something does,” Morin said. “We don’t want women to wait until something happens and then react. We want them to be proactive.”
Morin said the Denton Police Department tries to host a type of RAD class every month whether it be the basic classes, advanced classes and starting in January, RAD for seniors.
Criminal justice major at North Central Texas College in Gainesville Jessica Greanead is taking the course with her mother.
“It’s important to know mentally that they can take on a guy with these certain tactics even though men are larger than you,” Greanead said.
Senior RAD instructor Lieutenant Michael Beutner brought the program to Denton in 1998 after a member of the community asked him and his partner to teach women how to protect themselves because of their experience in martial arts.
Beutner did some research and found the RAD program. He was even personally trained as an instructor by the program’s founder.
“What we really think is important is taking responsibility for your own safety,” Beutner said. “It’s about empowerment.”
The classes are currently only open to women, though Beutner said a RAD course for men will be available in 2017. Each class consists of an hour worth of lecture and an hour of physical training exercises, both presented by trained instructors.
Randi Surratt, 34, is a retail manager at the Discover Denton welcome center on the square and has called police three times in the past three months for people coming into the shop drunk.
“I’m in charge of all the girls at that welcome center, and we have a lot of random people come through there,” Surrat said.
The welcome center opens early, closes late and is the only public restroom on the square. All eight of her female employees plan to take the future courses.
Surrat is taking the course to not only help protect the girls she works with at the store but to also get to know her body better.
“I have a license to carry,” Surrat said. “I carry a gun all the time but I’m not always going to be able to use a gun so I have to be able to use my body as well.”
Recent UNT graduate, Isabel Deniz, works with Surrat at Discover Denton Welcome Center on the square. Deniz was offered a spot in the class through her job and is taking it to become more confident. She thinks other women should take the course as well.
“[It’s important] just so you can protect yourself,” Deniz said. “And just have an edge on your surrounds and be aware. Just punch everything and definitely do it.”