41°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

R.A.D. Class Part 1: Shadowboxing

Mass+Media+writer+Virginia+Gosal+attended+two+public+safety-run+Rape+Aggression+Defense+classes+and+reported+back+with+techniques+learned+and+information+about+rape+culture.%26%23160%3B

Mass Media writer Virginia Gosal attended two public safety-run Rape Aggression Defense classes and reported back with techniques learned and information about rape culture. 

“NO!”
The voices of seven girls boomed in unison through the Creative Dance Room at the Clark Athletic Center on Oct. 13. They threw punches and kicks, swerved, blocked and parried, and repeated a single word, testing out its power: 
“NO! … NO!”
Officers Dianne Kirkpatrick and Matthew Coviello nodded their heads in approval, as they gave out instructions to the class, the first session of the Women’s Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) offered by the university.
I stood in my newly learned stance, confident and steady. Twist your hip to lengthen your punch’s reach and channel your momentum. We went through the defense tactics together. There was a sense of solidarity; that we were united in the defense of and the refusal to fear walking alone at night.
 “I want [women] to have the ability to be out in the world and feel comfortable so they can do whatever they need to do,” said Officer Kirkpatrick. 
She explained that the body’s natural instinct is to go into fight or flight mode when threatened. When that happens, people might hold their breath or hyperventilate. Verbalizing forces you to breathe. It also attracts the attention of people around you.
In the University of Massachusetts Boston alone, four students were raped over the past three years, according to the 2014 UMass Boston Annual Security Report.
Nationally, one in four women are targets of either attempted or completed sexual assault on college campuses (according to the site I Will End Sexual Violence). This doesn’t take into account the fact that less than five percent of the incidents are reported to the campus authorities. Yes, you read that right: less than five percent.
According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), “Even when the crime is reported, it is unlike[ly] to lead to an arrest and prosecution. Factoring in unreported rapes, only about two percent of rapists will ever spend a day in prison…the other ninety eight percent will walk free.”
The matter becomes even more complicated when the raped woman becomes pregnant. Only a few states have established laws that assist women who choose to raise the baby. Rapist’s Child, a Georgetown Law Journal, revealed that in 31 states, rapists are still granted the same custody and visitation rights as any other father.
The notion that women secretly want to get raped is ludicrous and one of the first things dispelled in the R.A.D. Handbook. “Whoever thinks that, or jokes about it, is very misinformed and has a very twisted perception of women’s sexuality,” said Azalia Blanco, a Honduran student enrolling in the program. “If one person is unwilling, then it’s rape. You can wrestle with your partner if you both like it––that’s okay. But you cannot compare that to rape because it’s not the same. It’s not just physical damage you are doing to the other person; it’s the mentality [too.]”
Note that the Blanco’s statement also applies to the people you think you know best. Statistics from the Office of the Attorney General indicate eighty percent of victims personally know their offenders. Friends, boyfriends and girlfriends, family members, and professors have been capable of rape in the past. Victims are normally disinclined to inflict pain on their friends or acquaintances, even when they are under a real threat of being assaulted.
“If that person puts you in that situation, he’s not your friend,” said Officer Coviello.
It’s sad that programs like R.A.D. are needed, and perhaps one day we will reach a society where they aren’t. But until then girls, take advantage of the free and available resources like the class offered by the university. Be aware of prevention techniques and create a safety plan. Your keys are your weapons. Your pens are your weapons. Your hair bushes, nail files, and credit cards are your weapons. Be prepared. “Your body is your own, and if you don’t want to share it with someone, nobody has the right to impose that on you,” said Blanco.
The remaining Fall 2015 R.A.D classes will be held in the Creative Dance Room at the Clark Athletic Centre on November, 10, 13, 17, and 19, from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. https://www.umb.edu/news_events_media/events/rape_aggression_defense_for_women_rad