By Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch
If you know a college age woman, you NEED to read AND share this article.
This month, over twenty millions students will head off for college; some returning, some entering a new life experience. And each year, almost a quarter (23%) of undergraduate women will be raped or sexually assaulted while away at college. Take a minute to let that sentence sink in… Almost a fourth of college women will become victims!
There is an unsavory element in society that preys on women and we provide an inadequate educational foundation for women to be alert for, avoid and/or fight should they be threatened.
At and around the college environment, half of all assaults occur in the first semester (August through November). As new students they are learning to cope with being away from home, learning new study habits and struggling with living on their own in a new environment with people they don’t know; providing for an increase in their level of risk.
Our daughters need – MUST – know what they face and how to prepare and protect themselves. We cannot shelter them anymore; they must learn to protect themselves.
There is a lot of information that can be written on this topic. There are a number of programs, seminars and classes women of all ages can attend. We hope this article will act as a spark to highlight this subject and take action to learn more.
The most important action a woman can take, and we can’t emphasize this enough; is to BE ALERT. Just as it was important to learn to look both ways before crossing a street as a child, so is the importance of being alert to your surroundings as a young woman. When you leave the safety of the classroom, the dorm, a group of friends; put your phone in your pocket and keep your head up and your eyes looking around you. DO NOT let someone sneak up on you!
Additionally, try not to go anywhere by yourself. If you can identify or find a friend to fly your wing; there really is safety in numbers.
Below are a few topics to consider; and some actions items that can help keep you safe while establishing a foundation for your professional future.
- Always keep the door (and windows) to your room locked; whether you’re in the room or away (even if you’re just going next door). Additionally, keep the door to your residence hall closed and locked. And don’t let anyone into the residence hall that you don’t know. Keep your keys with you at all times. If in your room, put your keys in a specific location every time you enter the room after you’ve locked the door.
- If you can’t arrange a friend to join you, use the campus escort service. Regardless, always let someone you trust know where you’re going and who you’re supposed to meet; and have your friend call you at predetermined times. There are phone aps that provide ‘flight following’. Find one that works for you and USE it. While you’re at it, add emergency numbers to your phone and set them up to be at the top of your contact list.
- Listen to your inner self. If something doesn’t feel right, excuse yourself and LEAVE, don’t worry about being polite – protect yourself.
- While in public, DO NOT let your drink leave your hand. If you do, order a new one. If out with friends, DO NOT leave, and don’t be allowed to be taken away by yourself. If you feel dizzy, drowsy, fatigued or have slurred speech, immediately find your friend or a police officer. Drugs and alcohol are most commonly associated with sexual assault.
- If you have access to a Victim Proofing Women or Rape-Aggression-Defense course, sign up – and bring a friend.
- Find a defensive tool that you can learn to use and take classes on how to use that tool. Defensive tools include: Kubaton or Tactical Pen, Mace, Pepper Spray, Tasers, Stun Guns and of course a Pistol. Each one requires training and practice, some require licensing and/or certification. We recommend something that you can take to any class or facility and can easily use if needed.
As we have mentioned in previous articles, we as individuals are responsible for our own safety and security. Take 10-15 minutes to learn, then set up a schedule to prepare and train. If you become a target, you won’t have time to think; you only have time to react!
We don’t want you to be paranoid, we just need you to pay attention and be prepared. You can learn more about sexual assault and prevention at www.rainn.org.
Be Aware, Be Safe.
Copyright © 2017 Ron Mullins and Thom Bolsch