Lt. Cheri Silveira (left) and Officer Givo Ysael (right) stand in front of the University Police Department. (Photo courtesy of Essense Saunders) 

The Rape Aggression Defense Course at CSU Stanislaus is a two-day informational and physical defense course for women. It is held around four times a year for 6 hours each day.

The course opens with a lecture on safety and recognizing and avoiding dangerous situations. It follows up with a lesson on basic physical defense. During the physical defense lesson students are provided with options on escaping dangerous situations as well as how to fight back.

“I want them to be able to recognize a possible volatile situation and know how to avoid it,” explains Lt. Cheri Silveira, Lieutenant at the University Police Department.

R.A.D was created by, and is taught by Lt. Cheri Silveira. It was created to promote safety and awareness.

“The class is about empowerment and self-reliance and confidence building. It’s about understanding the dangers in society and learning the tools to keep yourself safe,” says Lt. Silveira.

In terms of avoidance it is important to be aware of your surroundings. If you feel at risk, the blue emergency phones located around campus can be used to contact help. Knowing basic reactionary skills, like keeping yourself in well lit areas at night and having friends know your whereabouts when you are alone, is taught during the course.

The course is designed not just to inform, but to also connect the women who take it. It is to provide support for those within the class while building instincts and a sense of community. 

“I love having groups of friends and family members go through it together. I love seeing individuals get to know the other students and feel the support from strangers. By the end, no one is a stranger,” says Lt. Silveira.

Though the course is not necessarily well known, it provides a useful skill set to its students. Students have mentioned the sense of comfort that comes with self-defense experience.

“I would feel more confident and comfortable if I took it [the course]” says Serena Orosco (junior, Liberal Studies).

There is a the hope that more students will learn about and take the opportunity to access this resource.

“I think it’s a good thing that they’re available, but the fact that it’s not really advertised, or people don’t know about it, that’s not good,” Orosco mentions.

Overall, Lt. Silveira’s goals for the course do come through, emphasizing its value in protection in recognition.

“I want them to build the self-confidence to not let anyone take advantage of them. I want them to be able to rely on their good decision making and instincts,” Lt. Silveira says.

For the women on campus interested in learning more about the course, a basic description can be found on the school’s website csustan.edu, or you can contact Lt. Silveira at csilveira@csustan.edu .

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