Abingdon Police Department to begin offering free women’s self-defense class

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ABINGDON, Va. (WJHL) – Starting in February, the Abingdon Police Department will offer a certified women’s self-defense class.

Those classes will be held at the Harry L. Coomes Recreation Center and taught by Officer Kayla Richardson of the Abingdon Police Department.

Officer Richardson is a certified basic physical defense instructor under the R.A.D. program, which stands for “Rape Aggression Defense.”

“As a police officer, I would stay engaged in the attack and stay in it until the very end until that person is in handcuffs and taken to jail, but this program is teaching women that they need to defend themselves and escape,” Officer Richardson said.

According to Officer Richardson, one in three women will be sexually abused in their lifetime and one in four will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.

On average, Richardson says a sexual assault occurs every two minutes in the United States.

“We were able to work that out to have her come in hopefully once per month to provide a classroom set up and for them to do the hands-on practicing,” said Co-Director of the Indoor Parks and Recreation Department Jennifer Johnson.

“We’re looking forward to helping educate in self-defense and those kinds of things,” said fellow Co-Director of the Indoor Parks and Recreation Department Melissa Wynne.

The physically and mentally challenging course teaches risk-awareness and physical defense skills.

“This is to teach any women of any ability and just to kind of help them learn their own strength and empower them,” said Officer Richardson.

The classes are free to the public.

There is a waitlist for the February courses, but if you’re interested in attending one of the later courses, you can contact the Coomes Center in Abingdon to sign up.

You can find more information on R.A.D. Systems online at their website.

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