Self-defence course, RAD for Women ®

To date, Protection Services has trained more than 850 women on campus in Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) techniques to prevent sexual assault.

What will you learn during this course?

The Friday-night portion of the course deals with preventive strategies you can apply in your daily routine (traveling, coming to school or work, going out, being at home, etc.).

On Saturday morning, to get your blood flowing, the instructors put on their protective gear and let you practice self-defense techniques using full force. Releasing stress and anger never felt so good!  In the afternoon, after a review of the techniques taught in the morning, one instructor puts on the “aggressor suit” and becomes the “attacker.” You also put on protective gear and experience simulated encounters to practice your newly acquired self-defence techniques under more realistic conditions. You can again hit hard, because the red suit protects the “attacker.”

Some participants have actually been victims of sexual assault, and going through the course, especially the simulated attacks, can bring back horrible memories.  However, attending the course helps in the end. If you yourself have been sexually assaulted, we do encourage you to take part, emphasizing that our instructors are specially trained to show the empathy and sensitivity you need. They take the time to sit down with you and listen to your story. They can also direct you toward special campus services, such as counselling, designed to help you work through and manage all of the emotions caused by your ordeal. What's more, from our experience to date, the other course participants also display tremendous empathy and understanding in these circumstances.


“The R.A.D. training proved to be a highly effective method to eliminate my growing fear of walking alone on the outskirts of our downtown campus.  
The first part helped me to switch my mindset, as we focused on prevention and awareness of potentially dangerous situations. During the second stage, we concentrated on honing our physical skills and on becoming familiar with basic self-defence techniques. Through repetition, I started to feel stronger. And finally, we practised and analyzed simulations of life-threatening scenarios. As a result of this workshop, I confirmed that women of all ages can survive sexual assaults; I also feel more confident and better prepared to act in violent situations.  
What impressed me the most about this course was the immense respect that the uOttawa instructors had for participants’ motivations and individual past experiences. They demonstrated an acute sensibility towards everyone’s fitness level, creating a comfortable space where we could freely choose how and when to share and engage. I gladly recommend this introductory level training to anyone who seeks to be better prepared when facing unsafe environments.”  


“This course exceeded my expectations. I am very thankful for having the opportunity to participate. The atmosphere was very comfortable.”


Registration fees

Free for registered University of Ottawa students. To reserve your place on the registration list for the dates requested, a 40$ deposit. Upon completion of the course, students who have completed the course will be notified to initiate their registration fee back within 14 days if they have completed both days of training.

If you are a staff member or graduate of the University of Ottawa, there is a 45$ fee paid upon registration.

If you are from outside of the University of Ottawa, there is a 65$ fee paid upon registration. *(Registration priority is for University of Ottawa students and employees).

Two full week prior notice required. Any cancellation shorter than 14 days will result in a loss of deposit or course fees.

What is the duration of the course?

The 12 hours of instruction are offered, always on campus, starting on a Friday night, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and continuing on the Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The course runs in English, but the instructors are bilingual.

When is the next course?

  • November 3 an 4, 2023
  • November 17 and 18, 2023
  • February 16 and 17, 2024
  • April 5 and 6, 2024

University of Ottawa Covid protocols in place are to be respected and a self-assessment completed each day by all course participants and instructors. A confirmation email will be sent to all course participants.

If you would like to register for a course, please complete the registration form. A confirmation email will be sent to all course participants.

Our instructors