By Stephen Fasulo II
On Wednesday, October 14th, the Department of Public Safety introduced a class entitled R.A.D. which stands for Rape Aggression Defense. The class is designed to teach abilities and give tools to prevent and escape situations in where sexual assault might occur. The class is free to all female students, and meets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Currently, the class is taken by 11 students, which is just below the desired amount of students that the Department of Public Safety wanted to take the class, which is around 20. Unfortunately the class is only for female students, and there is no male alternative.
According to Private First Class Lawrence Barreto, there has been a movement to implement such a male-oriented sexual assault defense class, but there is not anyone certified to teach the class at the school.
“This is a really big question that has come up before. We’ve had people come to ask us specifically about this sort of class for male students,” Says Barreto.
The question posed to the student body is this: should the Catholic University of America devote time and resources to resolving this problem? According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 9 percent of all rapes are done do men, and 1 in 71 men will be raped in their lifetime, and 1 in 45 men has been made to penetrate an intimate partner, and 35 percent of male rape survivors report significant short term and long term effects such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
While numbers of female rapes are comparatively higher, the resources on campus for female victims do currently exist, while there are no such resources for male students who would like to try to educate themselves on self-defense techniques.
“If [R.A.D.] is a self-defense class, it should be open to everyone. If you want to stop rape as a whole, you shouldn’t exclude 50% of the population.” Says Christian Sapienza, a senior Marketing major.
“It’s understandable that we have a class focused on female defense, but I feel like we should make a class available for men as well,” says a male student who wishes to remain anonymous.
“I think it reflects the fact people don’t realize sexual violence is an issue for both genders, and that a lot of men are too ashamed to come forward about it because they think it makes them seem weak,” says Shannen Gora, a sophomore Politics major.
The desire for the class is there within the University. DPS has said they want to have this class, the student body has said they want to have this class. This class is more than just a self-defense class, it is an equal rights issue at the Catholic University of America.