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The Philadelphia Police Department received 1,004 reports of forcible rape in 2003, but says that the vast majority of cases go unreported citywide. The projected number of rapes in the city each year is approximately 6,300.

In many cases, police say, victims are unsure of how to defend themselves.

In light of the alleged sexual assault last Friday near 40th and Pine streets, members of the community seeking to avert a sexual assault can learn self-defense tactics and practice these techniques in near-real-world scenarios.

Rape Aggression Defense, a self-defense program run by the Division of Public Safety's Special Services Department will offer classes for women beginning tomorrow.

Another off-campus organization is WAVE, which offers classes in Philadelphia and conducts programs on-site if requested.

In both programs, students are taught how to escape situations in which they are the target of physical aggression. After learning various tactics, students take part in scenarios in which they must defend themselves against male police officers.

"We make women fight through it to know that they can really do it ... there is an actual aggression phase to the course."

Organizers of the RAD program said that in the past, they have witnessed low attendance numbers despite the fact that the course is free to members of the Penn community.

"For the amount of people on campus, it's disappointing to see the turnout," Penn Police Captain Gerald Leddy said.

Participants must devote 12 hours total to both RAD and WAVE's comprehensive self-defense programs.

RAD students have the option of completing two six-hour sessions on consecutive Saturdays or four three-hour sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays or Thursdays.

WAVE offers a six week program that gives students a total of 12 hours of training. They also offer monthly two-hour introductory classes.

"It was pretty easy and fun because all of my friends did it with me," said College senior Ariel Schneier, who participated in the RAD program. "It was worthwhile because we all did it together. ... I would encourage people to do it."

RAD classes are limited to 14 people to maximize one-on-one training and to cater to different fitness levels.

They are also strictly limited to female students. The only males in the room are police officers who simulate actual assaults. Specific tactics are not revealed to the public.

WAVE is less stringent in its policies. While most classes are for women and girls, the program will also accommodate men.

The main goals of the program are self-defense, safety and assertiveness. About half of class time focuses on physical techniques, while the other half is devoted to verbal negotiation skills.

While students must pay for classes, WAVE Program Director Cadelba Lomeli-Loibl emphasized that the organization would not turn down anyone due to lack of funds. Instead, students could pay according to financial ability.

The alleged sexual assault took place early Friday morning in the alley behind Allegro Pizza. An 18-year-old female student was discovered bleeding from the chin on the sidewalk, and taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

Police have not yet identified a suspect, but have not ruled out that it is a member of the Penn community.

Rape prevention safety tips

Trust your gut and intuition. Many are taught to doubt their fears or think they are paranoid. Use your voice. Make a scene with a lot of noise. You will have the greatest chance of successfully surviving the situation. Take charge of the situation, i.e. "Get out of my room!" or "Go away!" Be very direct and specific.

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