CSUF’s University Police department held the first self-defense class of the fall semester to show women tactics to ward off potential attackers in a Rape Aggression Defense course on Sept. 22.
There were three reported cases of rape at CSUF in 2016. There were also three reported in 2017. The number of reported stalking cases increased from seven in 2015 to 19 in 2017, according to the 2018 Clery Report.
The defense program started in 2001, according to the CSUF website, and takes place at the Student Recreation Center. In a 12-hour class that is taught over three weeks, participants learn a variety of tactics that may help them get out of certain situations, like how to escape a chokehold. They receive a certificate of completion at the conclusion of the training and can take the class as many times as they want, said Katie Cappuccio, a University Police officer.
In addition to the certificate, the $25 fee also covers a manual that talks about the techniques covered in the class, Cappuccio said.
Twenty-nine people showed up on the first day of the defense classes, which is well above the average of 15 that attend from semester-to-semester, Cappuccio said. The minimum age requirement for this course is 12 years old, and anyone under the age of 18 needs a permission slip from a legal guardian, Cappuccio said.
— CSU Fullerton PD (@csufpd) September 22, 2018
Jose Rosales, a University Police detective and lead defense instructor, emphasized the importance of being prepared for real-life situations at a moment’s notice.
“It’s providing that safety component and really helping them out so they are able to uncover their confidence that is sometimes masked or sometimes we don’t know that we have,” Rosales said.
Cappuccio said Rape Aggression Defense is only available to women at this time, but she feels that the program can grow its outreach with time.
“We’re looking to expand the program soon, and hope that we’ll get instructors that want to teach some of these other areas so that we can offer a better array of services to our community members,” she said.
Cappuccio said being aware of your surroundings can minimize the danger a person can become involved with.
“One is to just get a conversation started about how we as women need to be proactive in our own personal safety, because nobody’s going to protect us better than ourselves,” Cappuccio said.
Rape Aggression Defense has been a place of solace for its participants, as many taking the course have dealt with domestic violence in the past. Although residents of the Fullerton community are welcome to join, Cappuccio said CSUF students have priority registration.
Cappuccio said two female officers, Amanda McCarthy and Monica Corona, joined her as a part of the Rape Aggression Defense staff.
“I think that is going to be a huge asset to our program. When women are usually going through these types of situations, they, many times, prefer a female investigator or a female police officer to take their initial report because it’s such a sensitive topic,” Cappuccio said.
She said it is the first time in about a year that she will not be the lone female teaching an all-women class.
Josie Santos, a business administration major who is also a Rape Aggression Defense participant, said the CSUF police department offering these types of classes proves they are serious and proactive about spreading awareness of rape on campus.
“For the Fullerton (University) Police department to literally say ‘You’re not bothering us. Come to us for anything,’ that’s really helpful. It’s shows that Fullerton really cares as a whole,” Santos said.