RAD self-defense program kicks off at Wheaton for men

The RAD self-defense program is taught in almost all colleges and universities in the United States. In the following weeks, a number of Wheaton students will be attending RAD self-defense classes taught by dedicated Wheaton Public Safety officers who are also certified RAD instructors.

The RAD program has been running since the 1980s and offers multiple types of classes for different populations including females, males, seniors and children. Wheaton has been teaching the women’s program every fall for several years, but this year they will also be offering a class for men.

In each program, RAD stands for something different. For example, in the women’s class, it stands for Rape Aggression Defense while in the men’s class, it means Resisting Aggressive Defense. However, the structure of each class is similar. RAD consists of four three-hour classes. In the first class, students will receive a self-defense manual outlining the RAD program and watch videos about how to prevent aggression.

Afterwards, there will be an open discussion about the program and what participants hope to take away from RAD. In the second and third classes, students will learn physical techniques that they will practice against aggressors in the fourth class. In addition, the men’s program contains training and discussion about social norming, healthy masculinity and roles that men can play against preventing violence.

RAD self-defense has a number of unique aspects that sets it apart from other programs. For example, it is the only self-defense class recognized by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators. The program also has a very unique feature that allows anyone who has taken a class, to take another class within the program for free for the rest of their life. Wheaton’s RAD program is special because it is free and still gives you the opportunity to take advantage of this lifetime feature.

Chief Public Safety officer and trained RAD instructor, Christopher Santiago, said, “RAD supports the necessity of continuous learning in order to provide realistic options for each population as they go through life.” He also emphasized that the class has a commitment towards the privacy of its participants. In fact, the location of the class is only sent to those who registered. Santiago said, “You never know what someone’s experiences are. Even though you may attempt to walk in someone’s shoes, you are never exactly in their shoes. This class is about empowerment and knowing you can do anything.”

While students are strongly encouraged to take this class, the goal is to only use the self-defense techniques as a last resort. Santiago says, “The program is about teaching people how to learn about their own body, their own strengths and recognize their own weaknesses so they can defend against them.”

Santiago emphasized, “You have instructors who are passionate about what they’re teaching and why they’re teaching it. It’s important to us.”  For more information about the RAD program, go to