One Army spouse's dedication to self-defense will leave a lasting legacy for the Fort Leonard Wood community, long after her time here comes to an end later this year.

Patricia Shamburger, an instructor with the Rape Aggression Defense System since 2007, had a goal of bringing the RAD System to Fort Leonard Wood, after moving to the community in 2012. Seeing a gap in personal-protection training for women, she inquired with Shawn Steen, Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program manager, about potentially teaching the program at Fort Leonard Wood.

Steen said Shamburger had a passion to help bring another domestic violence and sexual assault training tool to the community.

"The program not only teaches techniques of how to physically respond to an attack, but identifies the most important goal of being able to disengage from the situation and escape," Steen said. "The RAD System is one that uses risk identification, reduction and avoidance techniques as options for women who are attacked."

In the coming months, the RAD System will become a regular training program at the installation, as Shamburger was able to bring instructors to the installation to train ACS staff members in teaching the program.

"It was through her volunteering to train during Domestic Violence Prevention Month and other prevention activities, and her knowledge of how the program had been utilized by other programs in the military, that we were able to engage and have the program trainers come to Fort Leonard Wood to train the staff," Steen said.

According to Steen, numerous studies validate the presence of physical violence and sexual assault of children and adults in American society.

"Research also shows how the use of resistance and self-protective measures can help prevent such violence," he added.

Shamburger said if she didn't believe in the class, she would not have volunteered to teach it.

"I see a gap everywhere that needs to be filled when it comes to female safety. It empowers women and gives them the tools they need," she said.

Debra Ward, ACS FAP specialist, took part in the recent instructor training and said the knowledge has been personally empowering.

"I feel more confident knowing I can fight back if an attack would occur," Ward said. "With my size, I always believed I would not stand a chance. Now, I know better. I believe with the skills I have learned I would catch an attacker off guard increasing my chances of survival."

As Sexual Assault Awareness Month comes to a close, Steen wants to make sure the community is aware of the programs available.

"(The) FAP strives to provide Families the tools to live healthy, productive lives and educate them on how to prevent Family and domestic violence," Steen said. "The RAD System is an additional opportunity FAP has to help women understand and act on safety and exploitation, gain conflict resolution and assertiveness and learn skills to help protect themselves."

Shamburger said she is thankful for Steen's support in bringing the course to Fort Leonard Wood and helping her to acquire her goal of "empowering women."

"Shawn has been a huge supporter ever since we PCSed here in 2012," Shamburger said. "We have worked together to get this course up and running. Whatever I needed, he worked to make it happen."

In the coming weeks, ACS will be scheduling RAD System sessions. The classes are open to any female service member, spouses, spouses of retirees and any female Family member over the age of 13 with parental consent. Shamburger said the course would be free at Fort Leonard Wood. She said the course is offered to the general public sometimes for a fee, but anyone who takes the course here, and keeps their workbook, can retake the course for free at other locations.

Class sizes are limited. To learn about upcoming opportunities, or to register, call the FAP staff members at ACS at 573.596.0131, ext. 60212.