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Submitted on behalf of Terri Ae. Stewart, Director and Chief, Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management

The Office of Public Safety recently announced the latest offering of the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) program for faculty and staff and I want to take this opportunity to provide more information on this specific program and all of the college’s efforts to increase sexual assault awareness, education, and prevention.

 Ithaca College launched a comprehensive Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education (SHARE) program in the fall of 2014. Through SHARE, the college offers diverse and widely recognized training, education, programming, and other resources on this topic; R.A.D. is only one of a number of programs we endorse in our multilayered approach toward combatting sexual assault. The IC community can access this information at any time at https://www.ithaca.edu/sacl/share/.

R.A.D. is a nationally developed program, which is recognized for substantially lowering the risk to college students of being sexually assaulted. It trains participants on how to defend themselves against sexual assaults in all kinds of scenarios and against known and unknown perpetrators. The New York Times recently published an article about the success of similar training programs in preventing sexual assault incidents among participants: "College Rape Prevention Program Proves a Rare Success."

Any student who identifies as female may register for the program. The national program manual addresses the “Why Women Only?” question with the following reasons:

  • Participant safety and comfort: “Women who enroll in our basic programs often do so because they feel vulnerable. Some of them are survivors of a previous assault or rape and come to us seeking information that may help them in avoiding the nightmare they’ve already survived. Having seen self-defense programs that were open to men and women simultaneously, I noticed a lack of unity, a lack of peer support, and a definite inhibitor to empowerment.  I have never seen this in a basic R.A.D. program.”
  • Diminishing the ongoing effectiveness of the curriculum through male access: “While all men are obviously not rapists, the vast majority of rapes are committed by men against women. If we allowed open access to our basic classes, the potential would exist for one of us to unknowingly convey our defensive philosophy to a rapist.”
  • Acknowledging the statistical probabilities around gender and purpose in assaults: “Basic programming is predicated upon frequency of occurrence. This is done to create a usable foundation of skills for continued and more advanced training venues.”

There are other R.A.D.  programs geared toward different audiences, including men, children, and the elderly. If there is sufficient interest and resources, the college could in the future consider obtaining the required certifications and implementing appropriate additional programs.

SHARE Programming

I want to emphasize that R.A.D. is just one of several trainings in the college’s array of programs offered under SHARE (Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education).

Every incoming Ithaca College student is given an introduction to SHARE as part of Summer Orientation. SHARE orientation and training sessions are aligned with college and university campaigns across the nation, including “It’s on Us” and “You are Not Alone,” which promote the principle that sexual assault prevention is a shared community responsibility and not an individual burden. The program includes interactive discussion around the definitions of sexual violence, consent, crime reporting and disclosure, confidential, private and third party reporting, victim’s rights, options, interventions and resources, bystander intervention, and multiple prevention strategies. 

A variety of sexual assault prevention trainings are also offered throughout the year, both by the college and in collaboration with outside partners such as the Advocacy Center. This past spring we began training students how to serve as peer facilitators of such programs. Our students can now choose to discuss these topics with other students, rather than staff, if they feel more comfortable. This is a multilayered approach to education and prevention that we are continually growing, with a constant eye on what is proving effective on college campuses everywhere.     

I urge students, faculty, and staff to visit the SHARE website to learn more about the programs and resources provided by the college and our local partners. Please use the contact information on the site to provide your feedback, which is critical to ensuring that we are meeting the needs of our community.

Terri Ae. Stewart
Director and Chief, Office of Public Safety and Emergency Management

Sexual Assault Prevention and Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) Program Updates | 0 Comments |
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