The Utah County Sheriff’s Office Eagle Mountain division will be offering several RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes to residents free of charge in 2023.
RAD is a self-defense and empowerment program for women and children that teaches risk awareness, reduction and self-defense techniques, according to the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.
According to the Utah County Children’s Justice Center, 1 in 3 women in Utah experience some form of sexual violence, and 1 in 3 women report being a victim of domestic violence. Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average, and 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be molested before the age of 18.
To help individuals protect themselves from such crimes, the Utah County Sheriff’s Office offers RAD Women courses for women and teenagers ages 13 and older, and radKIDS courses for all children 5-12 years of age.
The radKIDS program teaches children safety skills with a special focus on easy-to-learn physical skills for abduction reduction. The program is split into two age groups, 5 to 7-year-olds and 8 to 12-year-olds, to better suit the needs of children of different ages.
Residents should note that both age groups are taught the same principles, and it is not necessary to complete one class before moving on to another.
“radKIDS is a personal empowerment safety education aimed at keeping children safe,” says Camilla Brown, radKIDS Coordinator for the UCSO. “We have a variety of topics we teach including home, school and vehicle safety, out-and-about safety, bullying prevention, realistic defense against abduction, personal space/personal touch safety, and more.”
According to Brown, children in the radKIDS program are taught three basic rules for self-defense.
- Rule 1: “No one has the right to hurt me, because I am special.”
- Rule 2: “I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, including myself, UNLESS someone is trying to physically hurt me, and then I can stop them.”
- Rule 3: “If ANYONE tries to hurt me, trick me, or make me feel bad inside, it’s NOT my fault and I can tell someone.”
“The sad reality is that the vast majority of abductions and sexual molestation are done by someone the child knows or is related to,” says Brown.
“Because of this, we don’t focus on strangers. Instead, we focus on good people and bad people and that is it was people do that help us know. radKIDS is most known for their abduction reduction strategies. There are 10-14 physical skills (based on age) we teach that are designed and proven for children to be able to use.”
The radKIDS program is 12-hours long and is taught twice a week in two-hour increments. RadKIDS classes are currently underway for ages 5-7, and classes for ages 8-12 will take place in March.
While spots are no longer available for either of these sessions, residents can reserve a spot on the waitlist. Classes will also be held again for each age group in September and October.
According to Brown, 90% of self-defense is comprised of risk-reducing strategies. Because of this, women enrolled in the RAD Women course are taught risk awareness and risk reduction skills, as well as 26 physical skills with which to defend themselves should the need arise.
“Here in Eagle Mountain, we are able to offer an extra piece to our classes called ‘Keychain Defense Options.’ At the end of the class, women are able to not only take with them the knowledge they have learned, but also a specialized keychain to help defend themselves,” says Brown.
Registration for the first RAD Women class of the year is now open. Classes will take place from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Apr. 10, 17, 24, May 1, and May 8. RAD Women courses will also be held again in November of this year. Residents who are unable to register may also join the waitlist.
The location of each course will be emailed to class members prior to the start of each program.
Due to the mature nature of the subjects covered, residents should note that teenagers are encouraged to be accompanied by a trusted female adult to each class. The RAD Women program is 15-hours long and is taught weekly over the course of five weeks.
“As instructors, we have seen the impact these classes have had on both women and children,” says Brown. “The power and confidence they walk away with is astounding. We have witnessed it change lives. We cannot choose the way those around us act, but we can choose to change how we are prepared to deal with it.”
To learn more about the RAD Women and radKIDS programs, please visit Eagle Mountain’s Community Safety webpage.