A reporter goes RAD
Mar 04, 2013 | 491 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sometimes a newspaper feels strongly enough about a topic that it throws its reporters into the arena hand and foot.


Such is the case beginning tonight when our own Delaney Walker, an education and special assignments reporter, tries her hand — and foot ... er, feet — at learning awareness practices and self-defense techniques as one of many local women registered in this week’s Rape Aggression Defense classes offered through the Cleveland Police Department.

Delaney’s presence won’t be just as a staff writer who is reporting on an important story. She’ll be learning with the rest of the ladies and she’ll be interacting — physically — all the way to Night 4 when she gets the opportunity to pummel a padded aggressor in a real-life simulation. It should be pointed out no male editors in our newsroom have volunteered for the role.

Thanks to the willingness of staff writer Christy Armstrong to cover her regular news beats this week, Delaney over the next four nights will be lost in a sea of women listening, taking notes, learning time-tested self-defense maneuvers, and practicing those techniques, just like anyone else in the class. Each subsequent morning, she will file a first-person perspective on the training from the night before which our newspaper will publish on the front page.

Therefore, in Tuesday’s edition readers will be exposed to her learnings from Monday night; on Wednesday, she’ll write about Tuesday night’s lessons; on Thursday, she’ll feature the Wednesday night highlights; and on Friday she’ll offer a perspective on the final night of class which will provide students the chance to practice — physically — what the RAD instructors have preached all week.

To her credit, this young staff writer — a recent graduate of Lee University whose experiences with our newspaper have grown from college intern to part-time Lifestyles features writer and now to full-time news reporter — originated the idea herself.

For years, she had wanted to learn practical, usable — and effective — self-defense techniques. Frankly, it is a skill every woman, of any age, in America should possess. Society is slowly changing, and not always for the better.

Delaney’s training in RAD will become a valuable skill set that hopefully she never will be forced to use. But even more importantly, she will share her learnings and this newfound knowledge might encourage other Cleveland and Bradley County women to sign up for a RAD class in the future.

This week’s RAD session, as is the case with another set scheduled in early April, is a 12-hour program broken down into three-hour clinics each night.

Class I is a discussion on ways to identify and reduce potentially risky situations; dating, shopping and home safety are topics. Class II is a discussion of hands-on training; the defensive mindset is strengthened and physical skills will begin. Class III continues physical and hands-on learning; by the end of this class, self-defense moves will be second nature to the students. Class IV is an optional dynamic simulation in which students will be confronted with real-life “assaults,” and will be allowed to demonstrate their skills with the protection of specialized padding.

The next RAD lineup is set for April 1, 2, 8 and 9.

For more information, or to register, contact CPD officer Jennifer McKee by email at jmckee@cityofclevelandtn.com or call 476-1121, ext. 3374.

We look forward to presenting Delaney’s perspectives for the next four editions.

We feel sure they will be entertaining, enlightening and educational. But even more critically, they could become lifesaving.