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Fight like a girl

Albany County offering free self-defense course to women

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and District Attorney David Soares announces the creation of the new county Rape Aggression Defense Team with coordinator Cindy Forte. The program will offer free defense classes for women.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple and District Attorney David Soares announces the creation of the new county Rape Aggression Defense Team with coordinator Cindy Forte. The program will offer free defense classes for women. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— “It is our hope that the lessons and skills learned taught by the R.A.D. Team will empower women across the county and make them safer and less likely to become a victim,” he said.

Cindy Forte, the county’s new R.A.D. coordinator, is teaching the classes. She is willing to travel if a group of women have a location they want to meet at, or she will find one if needed. The idea is to have women at local colleges and working at schools take the course, as well as state workers. Women can also get together a group of friends to take the course as a night out, or can call to find a prescheduled class that works best for them.

The R.A.D. System has provided training to more than 900,000 women since it was created. Each course is 12 hours long and according to Forte, begins with women exploring their self-conscious. It also consists of risk awareness and reduction before working up to learning self-defense techniques and a simulation that allows students to use what they learned.

Forte said there are hundreds of success stories from women who have taken the class and were later accosted.

“Even for women who have taken the class a decade ago, muscle memory kicks in,” she said.

Forte also said the screaming and yelling during an attack may sound a bit extreme, but it has a purpose. Often, if a woman stands her ground and begins yelling as soon as an aggressor approaches her, that person will run away.

However, Forte did warn that R.A.D. is not a martial arts program and should not be thought of as such.

“A R.A.D. student’s goal is to use what they’ve learned to escape and survive,” she said.

For more information about the Albany County R.A.D. Team, contact Cindy Forte at Cindy.Forte@albanycounty.com or visit the team’s Facebook page.

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