MUPD offers self-defense class for women


The Marshall University Police Department is offering a women’s self-defense course in the second 8 weeks of the fall semester, as well as in the upcoming spring semester.

The class will focus on teaching methods from the Rape Aggression Defense system. These methods primarily teach awareness and prevention, risk reduction and hands-on defense training.

“It’s not necessarily about the physical techniques,” Scott Ballou, a sergeant for MUPD and an instructor for the course, said. “It’s about being aware, risk recognition and risk avoidance.”

The class has been offered at Marshall since 1998, and it is part of a larger nationwide initiative, Ballou said.

“It’s a very empowering class,” Ballou said. “It’s life-changing, it’s educational, and it’s fun.”

After taking both this course and an advanced version of it, Rachel Sneeringer, a junior at Marshall, became a licensed instructor of R.A.D.

“The best part about it for me is being able to give other women the confidence I received from taking these courses,” Sneeringer said. “I was teeming with confidence since taking this course. This course gave me wings.”

Sneeringer said her mother was the person who convinced her to take the course, and at the time, she had no idea how much she would become involved with it. So, when the opportunity to become an instructor became an option, Sneeringer said she was the first person to sign up.

In addition to confidence, Sneeringer said the course helps to teach self-reliance in dangerous situations.

“I can rely on myself, and that’s a huge confidence booster for me,” Sneeringer said.

While the course is offered at dozens of universities nationwide, Sneeringer said she believes the course is important for Huntington residents especially.

“College students especially could be drinking and walking home, and someone could take advantage of that,” Sneeringer said. “You really have to be aware, so why not prepare yourself?”

Those interested in the class may register online or contact Ballou at [email protected] The class is offered Mondays and Wednesdays, either from 3 to 4:15 p.m. or 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. The course is worth one college credit, and the second 8 weeks course will start Oct. 15.

Sam Phillips can be contacted at [email protected]