Rape Aggression Defense Training

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) training is a comprehensive course for women (assigned, identifying and transgender) that teaches awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance, progressing on to the basics of hands-on defense training. Taught at more than 1,000 colleges and universities across the United States, RAD is the only program endorsed by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA). 

VCU Police conducts Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) classes each semester.  Participants must be able to attend all advertised sessions in order to register. This class teaches participants physical self-defense techniques and raises awareness about sexual assault, violence and abduction. The class is for women (assigned, identifying and transgender) and is free to students. The cost is $10 for faculty, staff and visitors. 

For more information, email Sgt. David Nigro at dnigro@vcu.edu. (For men (assigned, identifying and transgender) interested in an alternate self-defense class, email Sgt. Nigro.)

The RAD Class

The Basic Self-Defense for Women program is a 12-hour course. Participants spend the first three hours in the classroom for open discussion and lecture. The next six hours demonstrate physical techniques, which include stances, strikes, kicks and pressure points, as well as techniques to break away from wrist grabs, bear hugs and chokeholds. The final three hours of RAD feature (optional) simulation, in which a certified RAD “aggressor” acts out real-life scenarios, and participants defend themselves using the techniques learned in class. Attendance for the entire course is required to participate.


At VCU, the Basic Self-Defense for Women RAD program is taught in four three-hour sessions or two six-hour sessions by VCU Police employees who have been certified through RAD Systems, Inc. Again, mandatory attendance is required to successfully complete the program. RAD classes are offered several times throughout each semester, and occasionally in the summer months. Participants must be at least 12 years of age, and parental waivers must be signed for any woman younger than 18 who wishes to attend.

Email Sgt. David Nigro at dnigro@vcu.edu.

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