Girls get RAD

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published May 27, 2015

 Eleshia Evans, Wayne State University police investigator, instructs Katie Cross, 12, on what to do if faced with an aggressor, as Wayne State University Police Lt. Dave Scott films the drill during Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, training May 21 at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

Eleshia Evans, Wayne State University police investigator, instructs Katie Cross, 12, on what to do if faced with an aggressor, as Wayne State University Police Lt. Dave Scott films the drill during Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, training May 21 at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

Photos by Donna Agusti

Troy High School sophomore Maria Verstrand suited up recently to kick, punch, elbow and evade “bad guys” intent on harming her during self-defense training offered at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

She said she was surprised to learn she could use her knees to defend herself.

“I recommend it,” she said of the training.

Wayne State University Police Department investigators presented a free course titled Rape Aggression Defense, or RAD, to female club members ages 11-18 May 18-21 at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

The program presents self-defense tactics and techniques. It is part of the Smart Girls program, funded by a one-time $5,000 grant from the Frederick A. Vollbrecht Foundation.

Jeff Evans, chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, explained that the Smart Girls program is vetted by the Boys & Girls Club of America and aims to promote healthy body images and instill healthy habits.

“The girls are really enjoying it,” Evans said of the RAD training.

He added that the Boys & Girls Club of Troy hopes to offer the RAD classes once a year.

Lt. David Scott, who works in crime prevention for the Wayne State University Police Department, said that girls and women ages 11-74, including a legally blind woman, have completed the basic RAD training. He explained that training is also available to boys and men, with a focus on risk avoidance and self-defense.

The RAD training for females consists of four sessions that focus on safety awareness, physical defense techniques and aggressive defense measures. The last session, simulation day, allows the girls — suited up in helmets and protective gear for their arms, hands, chests and knees — to test their skills in three simulated attacks from aggressors, who are also wearing protective gear. This allows the girls to kick and punch their attackers hard.

“Most of them have never hit anything or put power behind kicks and punches,” said RAD instructor Jaclyn Wilton, a Wayne State University Police Department investigator. She and Wayne State University Police Department investigator Eleshia Evans instructed the class. Eleshia Evans stayed beside each girl during the “attack,” giving instructions on how to thwart the attacker and feedback after each scenario was finished.

Brenna Martindale, 12, who attends Royal Oak Middle School, first attended RAD training at the Wayne State University Police Department.

“I’m back again to refresh my moves,” she said, adding that she brought some of her friends with her for the four-day course.

“I was surprised to learn how effective it is and how fun it was to learn,” she said.

For information on the Smart Girls program offered at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, call (248) 689-1687 or visit www.bgctroy.org.