by Air Force Staff Sgt. Robert Barnett
673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs
2/26/2014 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Army
Staff Sgt. Stephanie Kiser, 725th Brigade Support Battalion Motor
Transport Operator, was nervous. Her eyes were closed and her world
threatened. Someone was toying with her ponytail, teasing and bullying
The suspense of the moment built up around her. She didn't like the situation.
This creep is touching me, she thought. I need to get him off me somehow.
Her mind whirled around her optional reactions -- various ways to attack
the groin, strikes to the nose or face, stomps and other moves. The
ultimate goal: to get the guy off her so she could get to safety.
His arms wrapped around her then and tightened into a bear hug. She
reacted reflexively, and soon her self-defense instructor was on the
floor in his full body protective gear, praising her swift reactions as
she simulated running to safety.
"It was really fun," Kiser said, "Your adrenaline's rushing and you're
like 'oh man, I don't know when they're going to attack me' and it's
actually really good. Once they do grab onto you, you feel a lot more
confident once you've gotten that person off of you and you're running
away from them. You feel this wave of confidence come over you. It was
The self-defense course is used to give women a set of tools to get away
from a bad situation, said Sgt. 1st Class Virgil Allen, a certified
"It's not rape self-defense; it's defense against getting into a bad
situation," the native of Fort Worth, Texas, said. "That's what it
really is; teaching a female to get away."
The course is similar to an internationally recognized program called
Rape Aggressor Defense. The mission of R.A.D. Systems is to establish an
accessible, constantly improving and internationally respected alliance
of dedicated instructors. The instructors provide educational
opportunities for women, children, men and seniors to create a safer
future for themselves. They challenge society to evolve into an
existence where violence is not an acceptable part of daily life, their
The self-defense course starts by educating women on how to avoid bad
situations. This included avoiding texting or otherwise actively using a
cell phone while walking through an isolated area like a parking garage
at night, or dark alley, Kiser said.
"I think it's really important to be aware of your surroundings and to know what to do if somebody attacks you," she said.
One goal, Allen said, is to give females confidence so that any potential aggressors don't find them easy targets.
"This is my first time taking this class," said Angie Erickson, Sexual
Harassment Assault Response Prevention victim advocate. "For me, I think
it's really important to be vigilant in your surroundings. It gave me
awareness that I'm not without options when I come up against someone
trying to hurt me."
The course is offered free on base.
"I really enjoyed the self-defense course," Kiser said. "I've learned new things; it's really easy and it's fun."