RAPE AGGRESSION DEFENSE INSTRUCTOR SHARES HER STORY OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

Morgan Bright is a full time employee in the Financial Aid Department at the University of Florida.  When not at work, she is focused on teaching Rape Aggression Defense for Women R.A.D.).  Teaching for 2 years now, this almost part-time job of R.A.D. instructor is more of a personal calling.  In the few spare moments between these two, Morgan has many arts and craft projects ranging from painting, refinishing furniture, crocheting, and hopefully sewing in the future.

Morgan Bright is a full time employee in the Financial Aid Department at the University of Florida. When not at work, she is focused on teaching Rape Aggression Defense for Women R.A.D.). Teaching for 2 years now, this almost part-time job of R.A.D. instructor is more of a personal calling. In the few spare moments between these two, Morgan has many arts and craft projects ranging from painting, refinishing furniture, crocheting, and hopefully sewing in the future.

A girl of 16 walks around in the world, head down, trying to disappear.  The view of her sneakers was an everyday sight until one night when everything changed.

No one ever tells you that roughly 1 out of every 4 women will encounter some type of violent attack in their lifetime.  No one ever gave me a heads up that being sexually assaulted and raped was even possible.  It always seemed like something that only happened to other people…not me.

I soon became one of those survivors.   A boyfriend at the time raped me.  The only thing I could think to do was to try and shove him off of me.  He didn’t budge. He was significantly stronger and bigger than I was. Trying to push him off was obviously ineffective. A couple months later another incident occurred that left me bleeding and hurt in many ways.

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Looking back now, eight years later, I know I did nothing wrong.  The only way to have prevented those things from happening to me is if those men did not choose to rape me.  I still feel the effects of these encounters daily.  I never knew that I could ever walk around in the world with my head up, looking people directly in the eye, and feeling comfortable enough that if they dared to try something I could protect myself.  I never knew that I could feel like I AM ENOUGH.

I took the Rape Aggression Defense (R.A.D.) course during my college freshman year.  Needless to say some of the techniques triggered a psychological response in myself.  The class is meant to build in intensity and allow the student time to grow in their own confidence.  Nothing in the class is mandatory to do.  I took advantage of this my first time and sat out when practicing some of the more intense techniques.  Having never taken a self-defense class before, I found the class to be physically appropriate and caught on with ease everything that I did try.

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The reason for this is that R.A.D. techniques were designed for a woman’s body and strengths.  Our natural body reactions are also a key factor in the construction of these techniques.   Therefore, it did not take long to catch on to how to execute each technique no matter what your fitness level or strengths.  We went over techniques for moderate situations (example: someone grabs your arm when you are walking) all the way to extreme situations (example: being abducted/kidnapped).  The extreme situations are where I had to take a breather during the class.

After completion of my first class, it took me 3 years to return and practice.  Luckily with this program, you have free lifetime return and practice once you have received the manual.  I would like to say that it took 3 years to go back because life got busy or I lived in a foreign country but that is not true.  In reality, I was scared.

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It was not until after I returned to the class that I started to feel comfortable with myself.  My confidence has increased so much that I would not recognize that girl I talked about at the beginning of this story.  The feeling that I do not need a weapon or buddy to keep me safe is a life lesson I will forever cherish.  As women, we are told our whole lives to go places with a buddy, get a gun, or a dog.  All of these extra things give the underlying message that we are powerless facing any attack by ourselves.  No one ever has the right to hurt you.  With the guide of R.A.D., I can tell you with 100% confidence that you are worth protecting.

You are a strong, powerful woman.  YOU ARE ENOUGH.

R.A.D. Classes are free! For more information or to find a R.A.D. class near you: http://www.police.ufl.edu/community-services/rape-aggression-defense-program-rad/.