Decmeber 14, 1999
My partner, Bethaney Long, and I decided on rape and rape defense (specifically R.A.D.) as our project topic. We broke our presentation down into two concentrations. I spoke first on the definitions of rape and the issues that relate to rape while Beth concentrated on an actual Rape Aggression Defense class. At the conclusion of our separate topics, we came together to discuss how an interpreter would be incorporated into a R.A.D. class. Beth and I chose this topic for several reasons. First, the majority of our classmates are women, and while males can experience rape as well, we felt that it was important for our classmates to be aware of something that is very real and can possibly happen to them. We also chose this topic because of Beth's close connections to the Mansfield Police Department. Beth is on the Reserves in Mansfield and has worked closely with many of the officers that are certified in R.A.D. training. Lastly, We felt that the dynamics of having an interpreter in such a logistically challenging situation would be interesting and useful.
We felt that the best way to research the R.A.D. class was to experience it first hand. Beth had participated in the class before and we decided that I should as well. I tried to sign up but the class was not only full, but past its capacity. We also learned that some of the upcoming classes were already full as well. I was, however, allowed to go to the classes and observe. The officers provided us with the official R.A.D. book and also with some videos of the last class where the women experience simulations. We were also able to talk with the officers and learn their perspective. We asked them how they thought having a Deaf person in the class would effect them. We also asked what kinds of things they thought might have to be negotiated. In addition, we interviewed a Deaf individual who had actually taken a R.A.D. class. Her situation was unique because she took the class with all Deaf students. There was an interpreter present but the dynamics were different due to the lack of other hearing participants. We asked her about the logistical aspects of the class and how they were negotiated with the interpreter and also about the general comfort level with the expectations of the class. Lastly, we interviewed an interpreter who had actually interpreted for a R.A.D class previously. Again, we discussed the logistic issues and how they were dealt with. We also asked if she had to take any special training to prepare herself for the class, such as taking the class herself.
There was a wealth of information regarding rape on the Internet. I was able to contact various sites that gave me updated statistics and information. I was also able to use textbooks from classes offered at N.U. dealing with violence and rape.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) made an attempted to define rape. They claimed that rape was, "Sexual intercourse or attempted sexual intercourse with a female against her will by force or threat of force." There are some obvious problems concerning this definition. First of all, the definition completely excludes men. Although rapes against men occur less frequently than against women, they still occur and thus should be included. Secondly, this definition is too narrow. Rape doesn't only have to involve sexual intercourse. Oral and anal sex can also be classified under rape. Lastly, the definition is too legal. People want definitions that they can understand. While the terminology here is not verbose, it also not everyday lingo. B.J.S. soon realized the problems with their definition and later revised it. It now reads, "Rape occurs if a person is unwilling and refuses to engage in a sexual act but is forced into doing so." This new definition involves both genders, is easy to understand and does not limit rape to just sexual intercourse.
There are four types of rape: date rape, stranger rape, social rape and acquaintance rape. Date rape is one of the most common forms of rape, especially in a college setting. Date rape occurs when a relationship is taken advantage of by one of the participants and forces the other participant to engage in a sexual act against his/her will. Most date rapes remain unreported because the person that was raped is either too afraid to report it or feels they deserved it somehow because they knew the person. They may also hesitate on reporting it because of the stigma attached to rape and how others might view them if they found out. The second type of rape is stranger rape. Stranger rape is one of the least common types of rape; however, it tends to be one of the most dangerous. Stranger rape is usually a random act of violence that has the possibility of ending in murder. The third type of rape is social rape. This type of rape tends to occur with teenagers. In this situation, a young lady (or gentleman) may feel pressured by their peers or may feel a sense of "owing" sex to their partner. The last type of rape is acquaintance rape. This type of rapes makes up 80% of all rapes. A personal relationship between the participants is necessary for acquaintance rape to occur. However, this relationship never needs to be established between the two. The only necessity is eye contact. For example, a woman may see the postman everyday but never even know his name. If she were to be raped by him, the mere fact that they once established eye contact is enough to label it acquaintance rape.
There are seven different types of rapists; Non-sadistic, acquaintance, opportunistic, anger, social, power and sadistic. The non-sadistic rapist is a person with very low self-esteem. They may feel as though no one could ever love them so they force sex in the hopes that the person will eventually fall in love with them. The acquaintance rapist generally plans his/her attack. The person they are going to attack is already selected and is known by the attacker. The attacker may also have convinced him/herself that their victim really wants sex. The third type of rapist is the opportunistic rapist. This rapist is considered dangerous and unpredictable. They generally act on impulse if they see an opportunity arise. They also tend to accompany their rape with other crimes, such as robbery. The anger rapist tends to be impulsive as well and is considered very dangerous. This type tends to be criminals of other crimes besides rape. They feel angry at the world and therefore feel little or no remorse for their crimes. The anger rapist may not stop at just rape, but may continue to seriously injure or even kill their victim. The fifth type of rapist is the social rapist. Connected to social rape, this type is more frequent among teenagers. Peer pressure is a key factor for the social rapist who feels it is important to "score" to save face with his/her friends. Control and dominance drive the power rapist. This type of rapist actually enjoys it when his/her victim resists. The power rapist also feels as though sex is owed to him in some way. The last type of rapist is the sadistic rapist. This type is considered the most dangerous type and is depicted frequently by the media. This rapist is highly dangerous because, along with the rape, they also enjoy torturing and mutilating their victims.
There are certain elements that are needed in order for a rape to occur. Privacy, opportunity and vulnerability are all needed for a rapist to succeed. If we reduce the amount of privacy, for example by not walking in a dark parking garage alone, then we reduce the opportunity. Educating yourself by taking a self-defense class or a R.A.D. class reduces your vulnerability. If we take away all of these elements, we greatly reduce the probability of a rapist succeeding. There are also certain variables that increase ones risk of being raped. Gender is one influence of rape. In a 1996 study in Massachusetts, of the 757 restraining orders due to battery or sexual abuse, 80.8% of them where against males. It is much more common in today's society to hear of rapes against women then that of men. It does occur, however, men are generally less likely to admit that it did. Another variable is that of cohabitation. People run greater risk of being raped if they are living together. Alcohol and drug use play a huge role in the issue of rape. 55% of victims who were raped admitted to being drunk when they were assaulted. The attitude of peers is another variable in rape. This variable effects teenagers the most. Peer pressure may result in friends accepting that behavior from each other and therefore believing that it is o.k. Lastly, male's misconceptions impact the likelihood of rape. Some men may feel that it is owed to them because he paid for the evening or because their date may have worn a tight outfit. Men may also feel that women's actions are a form of consent and that entitles them to sex.
Statistics on frequency of rape are difficult to obtain. The varying definitions, as I mentioned earlier, make it difficult for people to know whether an experience should be considered rape or not. The hesitation to report rape also makes statistics of those reported unreliable. In fact, in a college situation, if a college claims that it had 50 reported rapes per year, it really means that there were close to 500. So you can see how different those two numbers are. Women's fear of their attacker and fear of being stigmatized prevent statistics from being accurate. Koss did a study on 3,187 women and 2,972 men. These men and women were given a survey containing questions about their experiences with "…sexual contact by misuse of authority, intercourse by alcohol and drugs and anal/oral penetration by threat." The questions in this survey were easy to understand and non-legal. The results of that survey were 38 rapes per 1000 women occur between the ages of 18-24. On the other side, B.J.S. did its own survey using highly legal terms which resulted in only 3.9 rapes per 1000 women between the ages of 16-19 and 2.5 between the ages of 20-24. As you can see, the difference between these two surveys is quite large. Once again, B.J.S. revised its survey and the results from that survey were more in tune with Koss's study.
The keys to preventing rape are using your body and mind. These are your most powerful weapons. The focus of this presentation is physical defense but there are other ways to resist as well. For example, some women have avoided rape by persuading their attacker not to attack. Another method may be to scream and draw as much attention to the situation as is possible. Still other women have been able to avoid rape by running away and hiding. While all of those methods may be effective, Beth and I feel that learning some form of self-defense is the most effective way of preventing rape.
The Rape Aggression Defense Systems (RAD) were developed in 1989 as a new method of defense for women against sexual aggression. Before the RAD program was developed, women were taught prevention techniques, avoidance and to comply with the attacker. Although compliance is always an option, a natural instinct for many women who are being attacked is to fight back. However, the perception regarding women was that they would not be able to defend themselves against a man. The only other option for a woman if she did want to learn how to defend herself was the martial arts. Although this is an excellent resource, the classes tend to be ceremonial and the nature of the martial arts is quite time consuming. In six weeks, the RAD program teaches realistic tactics for women to defend themselves against the aggression of an attacker. The topics in the classes range from "awareness, prevention, risk reduction, and avoidance to basic physical defense, aerosol defense options, flashlight/keychain defense to advanced self-defense methods" (Nadeau 1).
The RAD program is taught by qualified instructors, who are required to complete an instructor's training course. They are taught the RAD program itself and are required to complete the program, as would a student. In addition to the program, they are taught strategies for working with the women who are taking the class and dealing with the sensitive issues that may surface in this type of class. Most of the instructors are men, in Mansfield they are all police officers. This can be intimidating to the women who are taking a class where sensitive issues, such as rape, are discussed. It is especially important for the instructors to be aware of the students and take constant inventory. The strategies that the instructors have learned must be utilized if a student admits to having been raped or is having a difficult time with the class due to some other confrontation. Generally, the instructors promote and maintain a safe environment.
The program is federally funded which allows the women to attend for free. They are encouraged to attend, as many times as they desire, since the more often strategies and tactics are practiced, the more they become an instinctual response. You may have noticed that I refer to only women taking this class. This is due to the fact that most of the time, women are the targets of sexual aggression and the predators are usually men. Due to the physical make up of men and women, women tend to not be as strong as men are. RAD incorporates techniques that are based on body mechanics, not necessarily strength, in order to overcome the difference. The techniques learned are also defensive techniques. The goal of RAD is to give women enough information to get themselves out of the situation. They are not taught to stay in the confrontation and fight, but rather to fight until an opportunity arises where they can escape alive. The women who take the class are advised to practice with other women. They are warned against working with boyfriends, husbands or even brothers because unfortunately, women are often raped by men that they know.
The RAD program did not merely discard the old information that was taught before its development; the information, such as awareness, has been incorporated within the program. RAD was developed as a defense for women and a great defense is awareness. The following was taken from the RAD handbook that is distributed to all women when they walk in the door. It is theirs to keep and the women are encouraged to take the class as many times as they want. The information in the book is read through and discussed during the first two classes
Anyone can benefit from these awareness tips, but they only work if they are incorporated into your regular routine. In order to guard against potential attackers, it is important to be constantly aware of your surroundings. These are a few ideas for the home. Keep the drapes closed, especially in the evening because when the lights are on inside, people outside have a clear view of you. Be sure that the lighting outside is adequate so that if you arrive home after dark, you are not fumbling in the darkness or that someone is waiting for you in the dark. Many of us have bushes surrounding the house. If these were kept trimmed, it would be easy to notice if someone had been trampling on them in order to get into the home through a window. Invest in good door and window locks and always lock them. It is even important to lock the windows if you live on upper floors because it not unheard of to find that a perpetrator has entered through an upper floor window. Finally, if you have a hidden spot for that spare key, chances are that anyone who may be trying to get into your house probably knows that hiding spot. They even know about those special secret rocks that hide keys. Your best protection is to leave the key with a trusted friend.
Many of us drive and there are easy yet effective methods of ensuring safety in our vehicles. Before getting into your vehicle, walk a circle around the car and visually check if there are any problems or if something just does not look right. After scanning the car, look inside the front and back seats to make sure that nobody is waiting for you inside. As soon as you close the car door, lock them. Put any valuables that you have on the floor rather than on the seat to prevent any temptations from a passerby. If upon leaving an area you notice that you are being followed, do not provide easy access to your home by driving there. Either drive to a well-lit and populated area if possible or find the local police station. Try to stay in a familiar area so as not to get lost. Be sure to have your car serviced regularly in order to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road because of a problem that could have been prevented. When you bring your car in to be serviced, do not give the service men your entire key ring, only give them the keys to your car. It would not take much for a service person to have your house keys copied if the opportunity arose. If it happens that your car does break down, put on your flashers and stay in the car. Be very careful of helpful strangers who may have ulterior motives. When parking the car, be aware of the lighting and the surroundings. When you return to the car, already have your keys in your hand so that you are not fumbling for them at the car and if need be, they can also be used as a weapon.
In this day and age, dating can be quite a scary prospect. Help to protect yourself by not walking into a situation blindly. If you are out and happen to meet someone interesting, get his phone number rather than giving out yours. When a date is established, meet in a well-populated, predetermined location. Before going on the date, be sure to tell a friend where you are going and who with, just in case something happens. After the date, it is better to say goodnight in the car, rather than on the doorstep because the opportunity arises for him to enter your home if he is there when you unlock the door.
These days, almost everyone has voice mail or an answering machine. If you are a female living alone or with a few of your female friends do not broadcast this over the answer machine. Do not leave cutesy, sexy messages because it only leaves you as a target. Also, do not leave your phone number on the machine because if a person has dialed a wrong number, they now have your phone number. Our mailboxes require names and many of us have our information on checks and in the telephone directory. Be sure to use abbreviations, rather than providing a comprehensive list of all of your information.
There are a great many of us exercising more regularly. However, while exercising, try to be aware and not put yourself into compromising situations. Always work out with a partner, especially when running or walking outside. Exercise in a well-populated area. If you do work out alone, do not wear headsets so that you are able to incorporate all of your senses, including your hearing, while being aware of your surroundings.
These precautions are not meant to scare you or cause you to be cynical about the world. Unfortunately though, there are people out there that do not have good intentions. Rather than walk around with your head in the clouds, by merely becoming more aware of your surroundings you are less likely to become a victim. You may be able to notice a potentially dangerous situation before it happens. These tips were designed to reinforce the old saying, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". To incorporate these actions into your regular routine is not difficult and may help to save your life.
The awareness tips previously discussed are incorporated into the first two classes of a RAD program. The remainder of the classes focuses on the physical defense tactics. An important component of this part of RAD is verbalizing. If a woman is verbally harassed, she is taught to yell at the person directing the harassment. This is key for a few reasons. First, the women are taught to yell and not scream. A scream may portray that the woman is scared, which may make her an easy target. On the other hand, a yell is a sign of power and confidence. The aggressor may be a potential rapist who is merely testing a potential next victim. Most rapists want an easy target, not a person who may be perceived as a struggle. If he is testing and the woman replies with a yell, he will most likely back off and move on.
If a woman is found to be in a situation where she is attacked, the very first move that she employs is the defensive stance. This is a stance where the body is bladed against the perpetrator, the hands are in fists and one is in front of the body blocking the face and the other is at the hip ready for the next move. Accompanied with this stance is also a yell of "no". This is effective for many reasons. It has been shown that immediate resistance offers a better chance for a woman to escape. Typically, women do not react this way. Women are often perceived as passive and meek. If a woman is attacked and then begins to yell no and land in a defensive stance, this will most likely take the attacker off guard. If there are bystanders, this may attract attention, which may stop the pursuit. The attacker may pretend nothing happened and call the woman crazy. It seems to me that I would rather be seen as a nutcase by strangers and prevent an attack, rather than to worry about others judgements about me.
The women in a RAD class are taught blocks, strikes, kicks and even ground tactics. There are many variations taught so that each individual may find a strike that is comfortable. A variation also provides the students with many alternatives to choose from in a situation. In the class, a question or problem that always surfaces is "what happens if I kill the perpetrator" or another variation is "I really don't want to maim this guy, what if I really hurt him?" These questions are understandable because the women are not actively in the situation, feeling the emotions and adrenaline rush. It is important to remember two things; the tactics that are taught are defensive, which implies that the woman was first attacked. Secondly, if a woman is attacked, she has every right to do all in her power to protect herself without regard for the well being of the individual who has attacked her. I have the feeling that if confronted in the situation, the welfare of the attacker will not influence the choices of the women.
A majority of the classes in which the blocks and kicks are taught is set up in a circle. The students of the class stand in a round while the instructors teach the class from the middle of the circle. There is usually one instructor who teaches a part of the class while the others (around five instructors) walk around the circle to help with individual questions and to ensure that everyone is practicing the moves correctly. The instructor, who is teaching the defense tactics, is also the one who leads the practice drills within the circle. It is structured in a military call and response fashion. For example, the instructor yells "defensive stance", and the students get into the stance and then yell "no". For a strike the instructor may yell "striking motion ready" and the class responds in a "no" while executing the striking motion (the "no" refers to the response that the women would make in reference to an attacker). Once the moves are learned, the students are broken up into lines, maybe 3 or 4, where each student practices throwing strikes or kicks at the instructor's request while he holds a pad. This is the general set up throughout the rest of the six weeks.
The final day of the six week course involves putting together all the strategies and defenses that were learned and applying them to a realistic encounter. The instructors dress in full padded suits and "attack" each woman individually. The women are forced to apply all that they have learned in order to get out of the confrontation. The women can use 100% force because the instructors have on the suits. Although it seems frightening, it helps to practice what the students have learned in a realistic situation. They then leave with the strategies and tactics, the knowledge that the information they have learned really works, and the confidence to know that if a situation arises, they will be prepared to defend themselves.
The RAD program is a wonderful program for all women to partake. It came to my attention during one of our interviews with a Deaf woman that when she tried to organize a RAD class it was thought that because she is Deaf, she would not benefit. She strongly disagreed and fought for a class to be set up for only Deaf participants and for interpreters to be provided. She stated that the best scenario for Deaf women would be an all-Deaf class or if there were hearing women, they should at least be knowledgeable of Deaf culture and be able to understand ASL. The class was effective because the instructors were able to focus solely on the Deaf women and their needs. An all-Deaf class also helps the women to be more confident and not be intimidated further by being the only Deaf person in the class. The interpreter was able to work with the instructors and the Deaf women as far as logistics, so that the women would not miss demonstrations of moves due to lag time. The most effective strategy was for the interpreter to interpret first and then the student would watch the instructor demonstrate the moves.
The nature of the RAD class is a sensitive issue in and of itself. This came as an unexpected realization because in choosing this topic, I was thinking about the defense aspect of it. The women that partake in these classes can vary in age from highschool, to a grandmother; they can be of all races and backgrounds. There is potential that some women may have been raped and want to prevent a future attack or may only be attending the class due to interest. Others may have known someone who was raped or there may be a woman who was not raped but assaulted. There is a wide range of possibilities. Although the covert goals of the women may vary due to their individual situations, their overt goal is to learn and practice the information provided in order to defend themselves if ever attacked. Rape is discussed in depth in the classes. The women are taught what to do after a rape, the feelings and emotions associated with someone who was raped and even the characteristics of rapists. Although the classes can be fun and exciting, they can also trigger unexpected emotions and feelings in the participants and cover topics that may be uncomfortable at times.
The goal for the instructors is that the participants learn enough of the program to defend themselves against an attack. Most of the instructors, all but one in Mansfield, are men. In Mansfield they all happen to be police officers. Although they have the best intentions, this fact alone may have a bearing on the class. It is vital that the instructors can develop trust among the women in the class. This task may be difficult for any participant who has had a bad experience with men or police officers. The instructors would have to work with any woman on an individual basis who may experience these issues.
An interpreter in a situation such as a RAD class would have to be aware of the possible emotions that may surface in the class. These emotions may surface in any one of the participants in the class as well as the interpreter. If she had been attacked or knew someone who was raped, this may not be an appropriate assignment to accept. If the interpreter chooses to accept the assignment, one of her goals must be to effectively convey the information to the Deaf participants and to the hearing participants. As discussed previously, an effective method involved an all-Deaf class. However, this is not always possible.
If the class is mostly hearing with only one or a few Deaf participants (the most likely situation) it important to try and equalize the power differential that exists. The differentials may include but not be limited to male/female issues, Deaf/hearing issues, and officer/civilian issues that can cause the difference in power, with the advantage to the police officers. Although the interpreter cannot address all the issues, the Deaf/hearing issue can be addressed. This can be successful by negotiating logistical issues and possible solutions with the Deaf person as well as the instructors. The solutions may vary greatly due to the set up of the class, the instructors and the Deaf person involved (the actual discussion of logistic problems and solutions will be discussed in the scenario section). The interpreter that we spoke to and the police officers that we spoke to from Mansfield seemed in agreement that most instructors would be willing to do whatever is necessary to aid in the interpretation of the material so that the Deaf person may have the best experience possible. The best preparation for an interpreter would be to participate in a RAD class; however, this may not always be possible. The manual that is provided for the participants, contains all the information discussed in the class. If this could be read ahead of time, it would be helpful for the interpreter. Movies are often shown in the class, most are not close captioned. If possible it would be beneficial to view these ahead of time.
It is impossible to address every situation that may materialize in a RAD class. There are many factors such as instructors, students, class set up, and relationship dynamics that effect the situation. However, the knowledge that has been imparted here will be helpful in knowing what to expect. The following scenarios are also examples of situations that may occur and some possible solutions. The best advice though is to expect the unexpected.
- Two RAD instructors: both male and in their early thirties. Both have never worked with a Deaf person or interpreter before.
- Interpreter: female in early twenties recently graduated from Northeastern University interpreting program
- Hearing students: females of varying ages and stages of life taking a RAD class
- Deaf student: early forties, worked with interpreters
The scenario was set up like the first day of a RAD class. The participants were all in a circle and the instructors were in the middle. During this part of the class, the instructors teach the students the different stances, blocks and kicks. The first is the defensive stance. The instructors yell "defensive stance" and the students respond by getting into the defensive stance and yelling "no". This similar format is followed as all the different moves are taught and then practiced. This scenario was designed to demonstrate the different logistical issues that surface in this type of class. The interpreter must position herself in a way so that the Deaf person can see both her and the instructor that is doing the demonstrating. Since the students are in a circle, the interpreter must also be conscious of the other students that may be behind her so that she does not block their view. A successful position seemed to be in to the side of but in front of the Deaf person and to the side of the instructor. This may change as the class progresses depending on the nature of the exercise. It is important that these issues be negotiated with the Deaf person and the instructors.
Another aspect that may be a problem is lag time. When in the circle, the students all yell and perform a defensive move in response to the instructor's request. If the interpreter is behind in process time, which is most likely, then the Deaf woman will be responding at a later time than everyone else will. This may cause undue attention to the Deaf woman and make her feel uncomfortable. A way to alleviate this problem is to work with the instructors in developing signs that they can use while they yell the commands. This way the Deaf woman can focus full attention to the instructors. This seemed to be a successful strategy in the all-Deaf class and should work in this situation. As far as watching the demonstrations, an effective method would be to have the instructors talk first and describe what they are about to do, then wait until the interpretation is finished so that the Deaf person may watch the demonstration. It is not up to the interpreter to demonstrate the moves to the Deaf person. The onus is on the instructors, as it should be.
- RAD instructors: two males in their early thirties and have never worked with a Deaf person or interpreter before.
- Interpreter: female in early twenties recently graduated from Northeastern University interpreting program, caring individual
- Hearing students: females of varying ages and stages of life taking a RAD class
- Deaf student: woman in her thirties who had recently been raped. She is attending the class for prevention strategies and empowerment. She thought the class would be mostly self-defense and not really address rape issues.
This scenario was set up the same as the previous scenario. Everyone was in a circle and one of the instructors discussed why the class was required to yell no before the defensive stance and during each strike. The Deaf person was a woman who had been raped and the discussion of saying no and why they are supposed to yell caused her to recall the feelings and emotions that she had when she was raped. The goal of this scenario was to see how the interpreter would negotiate the Deaf student's reaction. We had figured there would be a couple of responses. The interpreter could take on the responsibility of consoling the Deaf person, since the Deaf woman was telling her what had happened and why she was upset. Another outcome could have been that the interpreter interprets the message to the instructor.
When drafting this scenario, we had discussed it with an officer from Mansfield. He said that if they saw that someone was upset or if someone had approached them, they were trained to intervene in this type of situation. Normally the person would be taken aside and spoken with to find out the problem and comfort the person. If the interpreter does not tell the instructor that the Deaf person is upset, then an opportunity for healing by speaking with the officers may be missed. Rather than try to comfort the Deaf person alone it may be a better tactic to inform the Deaf person that the officers are trained to work with women who have been raped. This will at least provide the Deaf woman with enough information to decide whether or not she wants to tell the instructors or not.
In this scenario, the goal was to see how an interpreter negotiates his role with the other participants. The only males allowed in a R.A.D. class are the instructors. All other men are not allowed to even observe the class. Since most rapes are committed by people we know and even love, women who take the class are encouraged not to demonstrate or practice what they learn in class with their husbands or boyfriends. Keeping that in mind, the original interpreter for this class canceled last minute and was replaced by a male interpreter. The R.A.D. instructors have never worked with either a Deaf person or an interpreter before. The Deaf woman is annoyed that she has to take the class with all hearing people because there weren't enough people in the all-Deaf class so it was canceled. When the interpreter first arrives, the R.A.D. instructors immediately notice him. After making sure he was in the right room, the R.A.D. instructors explain that there are no men allowed and ask him to leave. The Deaf woman has sensed that there is a problem and approaches the men. The interpreter explains to the Deaf woman that he can't stay and she becomes angry. She begins to make all kinds of derogatory remarks towards the two hearing instructors who are now becoming just as angry. The situation becomes heated, as all four of the participants grow more and more frustrated.
We chose this scenario because the notion of not sharing what we learned in class with our significant others was surprising. Our initial thoughts where that we couldn't wait to get home and show our boyfriends what we had learned. The R.A.D. instructors take this aspect very seriously and mention it more than once. When interviewing a R.A.D. instructor, he told us that if this scenario had really happened, the interpreter would have had to leave. There is no negotiation. However, this doesn't mean that the Deaf woman has to drop the class. He offered us a few solutions. First, the interpreter could try to find a female interpreter to replace him. If he can't find someone for that night, he could try for someone for the next class and they would work with the Deaf woman to catch her up on what she missed. The other solution was to focus on just the bookwork for the first night. In a normal R.A.D class, the bookwork, which describes the program and offers safety tips, is normally split between the first two classes. In this case, they could do all of the bookwork the first night and that way the interpreter could stay.
We wanted to see how the interpreter would negotiate with the Deaf woman and the instructors. We were looking for an explanation of the role of an interpreter and the Deaf woman's right to have one present. We were also interested to see how the interpreter would handle negative remarks that were being made about the two R.A.D. instructors and being made about hearing people in general.
This scenario takes place at the beginning of a R.A.D. class. While the instructors make sure everyone is registered properly, the woman are asked to take a look at a brief video about safety when driving alone. The video is not close captioned and a lot of it is dialog between two people. Parts of the video also have a voice over so the focus is on watching what the voice is explaining. The goal here was to see how the interpreter would negotiate a video that she had never seen before and that was not close captioned. The instructors had never worked with a Deaf person or with an interpreter. The Deaf woman was extremely eager to take the class and wanted the get as much out of the class as possible.
The interpreter in this situation is going to have to interpret the video; however, there are ways that she could have been more prepared. She could have contacted the instructors ahead of time to find out the format of each class or she could have asked for a brief summary of the tape and interpreted that and then allowed the Deaf person to just watch the video. The video was not too difficult that it couldn't be interpreted on the spot. It provides a good opportunity for practice in role shift and decision making as far as what needs to be interpreted and what can be understood from just watching. Work Cited
Nadeau, Lawerence. Basic Physical Defense for Women Participant's Manual. Virginia: Rape Aggression Defense Systems, 1991.
Lieutenant Crickcard, Walter. Personal interview. 19 October 1999.
Leggera, Vicki. E mail interview. 22 October 1999.
Watson, Wendy. Personal interview. 13 October 1999.
Patrolman Thompson, Sam. Personal Interview. 31 October 1999.