FIUPD offers free self-defense classes for female students, faculty and staff

Barbara Andrade-Brites/Staff Writer

Attackers always have a plan and the FIU Police Department wants women to have one too.

The FIUPD offers free self-defense techniques to all female students, faculty and staff and is restricted to women only. The course runs nine to 12 hours over the course of three or four days with a minimum class of four people.

“The RAD [Rape Aggression Defense Program] is a way of giving women the means of empowerment through education and self-defense techniques,” Lieutenant Peter Canino said. “It’s to show them how to protect themselves and thereby, build confidence.”

The training includes both a theory class and a technique class in which females are given the opportunity to test their abilities during a simulated attack. 

Women learn awareness techniques, prevention, risk reduction, and avoidance strategies. They will also learn how properly throw a punch, kick, how to escape a bear huge, among more.

The program was first introduced to the University in 2009 and law enforcement officer Sonia Meneses, a certified RAD instructor, has taught the program alongside Safety Officer Roberto Leal since its introduction.

According to the FIU Police Department, self-defense is 90 percent mental preparedness; the other 10 percent is physical.

“This program is realistic and practical,” Canino said. “We want women to have a plan because the attacker always has one.”

Self-Defense Awareness Familiarization Exchange is another self-defense course offered by the FIU Police Department.  Rather than a self-defense class, this two-hour program provides personal safety information and an introduction to basic physical techniques to teach females how to prevent an unfortunate event.

Mayrin Ramirez, Higher Education Administration, attended the S.A.F.E. self defense class with two of her best friends. Ramirez wanted to learn how to defend herself, feel safe and know what tactics use to avoid being a target.

“Both myself and two friends enjoyed and loved the class. We saw a video of a scenario, which of is one of the common scenarios we are faced with every day and how we can go about defending ourselves in each situation and we also had the opportunity to practice self -defense moves,“ Ramirez said. “They had very good information, techniques and advice. Overall, an amazing life changing experience.”  

Women interested in any of the classes can contact Law Enforcement Officer Sonia Meneses. She can be contacted by phone: 305-348-6056 or by email: They can also visit for more information on the program or the office in the PG5 Market Station.

Sonia Meneses declined to speak with Student Media on the program and her role as an instructor.


Photo retrieved on Flickr

About the Author

Martina Bretous
Afro- Caribbean. Communication Arts Major. Cat lover. TV Junkie.

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