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Women learn self-defense in free course

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Bradford going through the RAD training Bradford going through the RAD training
MACOMB, Ill. (WGEM) -

If you were attacked, would you know how to fight back? Several faculty and staff members at Western Illinois University learned how to defend themselves against sexual predators Wednesday.

WIU campus police hosted the free Rape Aggression Defense or RAD course, where women learned techniques and skills needed to escape a life-or-death situation.

Donna Bradford works as an academic advisor at WIU, but Wednesday she took the RAD course to learn how to protect herself.

"They gave you some tools in terms of how to break free, also to use your legs, use your feet, use your core," Bradford said. "These are things you don't really think of."

Participants learned ground maneuvers and hand-to-hand combat skills.

"We learned how to punch and kick, some ground defense that we covered," Sgt. Derek Watts with campus police said. "How to get our of a bear hug or if somebody is trying to choke you. Women are brought up  not to hit and strike people, so we are trying to get over that barrier."

Instructors also taught the importance of using verbal cues when attacked.

"We teach them to say 'no'. We all know what no means," Watts said. "It's going to call attention to yourself and it's reminder that you need to breathe. It's that muscle memory when we go through the repetition, so we have them say no every time."

Bradford said you never know when this training will come in handy.

"Going to work, going to school, going to the grocery store," Bradford added. "Those things can happen at any given time. You can even be on a vacation somewhere."

She recommends all women have at least some knowledge of self-defense, because one day it could save your life.

"I think it's very beneficial for women of all ages, young, old, middle," Bradford said. "It's very beneficial."

WIU Campus Police said they plan to hold another RAD class in the fall semester once students get on campus.

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