R.A.D.-ically in need of cash

Struggling against her attacker, sophomore Heather Fish felt her elbow connect with a stomach.Luckily, this attack was a part of Rape Aggression Defense Systems (R.A.D.), a female self-defense course being offered by UVM Police Services.However, the suits used in R.A.D. practice attack scenarios — to protect the attacker and the attacked — are falling apart.”One of the suits was completely wrapped in duct tape,” Fish said. The duct tape has done its job for now, but luckily a new rescuer has come on the scene.UVM Police Services crime prevention coordinator Sue Roberts said that the Vermont Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE) is giving donations for the purchase of one new R.A.D. aggressor suit, consisting of full body padding and helmet, and four student suits with partial padding.UVM police service officer and FOE member Orin Tilton said that  FOE does major fundraising for various types of charity programs like cancer and diabetes funds. When Tilton learned of R.A.D. and its need, he said that he immediately became interested and requested a grant for $1,000.To the benefit of UVM’s R.A.D. program, the Vermont State Aerie approved Tilton’s request for a grant. The local Green Mountain Aerie, of which he is a member, as well as the auxiliary (women’s division), also gave $500 for a total of $1,500, Tilton said.”Funding in the amount of $150 also came from my instructing self-defense classes with UVM Athletics the previous Fall ’08 and Spring ’09 semesters,” Roberts said. Roberts said that she also asked for financial assistance from UVM’s Health Promotion Services Department to help pay for new suits.These suits are particularly important to the course, due to the style of training the participants receive.”We use real people in our training instead of just a punching bag,” Roberts said. “That way, if women encounter a real assault situation, they can know how to handle it.” Fish said that the program boosted her confidence, especially when walking home alone at night.”I feel our campus is very safe at night, but at the same time the police can’t be everywhere,” she said. According to Bureau of Justice statistics, more than 2.3 million women reported assaults in the U.S. between 1973 and 1987.Of these survivors, 71 percent avoided being raped by taking self-protective measures.”It’s a program focused on your strength and demonstrates what you’re capable of doing,” Fish said. “It opens your eyes on how to be safer on campus and in life all around.”