College offers course to teach rape defense


Rape Aggression Defense instructor Officer Duane Gottschalk poses with Melissa Beardmore, AACC’s vice president of learning resources management. Photo courtesy of Officer Kerpelman

Michael Garvey, Newsroom Manager

AACC canceled a spring women’s self-defense class because of low enrollment, even after the college lowered the price from more than $60 to $10.
The campus Department of Public Safety and Police trained three officers to instruct women in self-defense using the R.A.D.—Rape Aggression Defense—System.
“[The course] hasn’t been picked up very well in the recent years,” said officer Janene Kerpelman, senior R.A.D instructor. “Now that I’ve taken over the program, I’m trying to figure out what’s going to work best for students’ schedules.”
Before this year, AACC charged about $60 for the credit class. Campus Police Chief Sean Kapfhammer proposed that the class be free because of low enrollment, but AACC administrators decided to reduce the registration fee to $10 to cover costs, and to make it a non-credit class.
The class, taught over a four-day, 12-hour span, teaches people escape tactics and techniques to draw attention to themselves when in danger.
“[After taking the class], if something does happen where [students] have to physically get out of a predicament, [they] can think back on it and be like, ‘Wait I know I can do this,’” biology professor Jessamy Rango, a two-time R.A.D. student said.
“[The class is] a matter of empowering somebody to have that self-defense,” said R.A.D. instructor Ashton Thomas, who also is an AACC public safety officer.
Instructors teach the R.A.D. curriculum at more than 400 colleges and police departments across the United States and Canada.
After graduating from the class, students can retake it for free.
Although the class was officially canceled, Kerpelman said she would be willing to teach the class on a customized schedule for people who want to learn.
“To know that they can … defend themselves if need be if faced with an attack. … It’s a good feeling to know that I’ve transferred that empowerment to … another female,” Kerpelman said.
Women interested in the class can contact Kerpelman at the Department of Public Safety and Police or look at AACC’s noncredit course schedule under “personal enrichment: self-defense.”