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Defense classes teach awareness, response

Women in Madison are making a stand to protect themselves.

Detective Christie Gover coordinates the Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) course for women only that involves awareness, prevention, risk reduction and risk avoidance of attack, particularly rape.

Already full, the last class in 2012 will be held May 7-11 at Madison Police Department’s training center, 100 Hughes Road. Gover said more classes may be offered later.

Gover and seven other instructors lead classes. Each instructor must complete an intensive, three-day training curriculum for certification in the basic physical defense course from RAD Systems Inc. Gover and another instructor also are certified in RAD’s advanced course.

RAD’s objective is “to develop and enhance options of self-defense (for) viable considerations to the woman who is attacked. We embrace that fully,” Gover said.

Gover wants women to be mindful of their surroundings constantly. “Also, I would like for them to have a renewed sense of self. To most women, the reassurance they can protect themselves is the greatest gift they can receive,” she said.

Classes combine information sharing about defense and practical application. Students complete a full-body stretch routine before any defensive tactics training.

“We provide options of defense to the women of our community,” Gover said. “There is no specific defensive maneuver that will prevent an attack of any kind.”

However, the key is to be mindful that an attack could come at any time or place, she said. “Keeping a defensive mindset can greatly improve your ability to react and defend against an aggressor.”

In an attack, each situation is different with no right or wrong way to ‘respond,’ Gover said. “Mere survival is, in and of itself, THE number one goal. I won’t tell anyone they ‘should have done this’ or ‘should not have done that’.”

Gover is a 13-year veteran in the Madison Police Department. She has been assigned to patrol, crime scene investigations and criminal Investigations. Currently, she is assigned to cases involving crimes against children and works closely with colleagues at the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville.

To contact the police department, call 256-722-7190.

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