One in four (25 percent) of college women reported they received unsolicited sexual contact while in college, says the recent Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey of 150,000 students.
How can on-campus safety be heightened?
- Students should have a hardcopy and smartphone-stored list of contact information for all kinds of help. The school's emergency and security numbers should be on speed dial.
- Memorize key numbers in case your phone is stolen or the juice dries up.
- Ditch the headphones when walking outside.
- See if the campus has a security escort service.
- Take self defense classes often. Many college campuses have martial arts clubs; join and learn.
- Don't always walk the same paths to and from classes so that predators don't learn your patterns.
- Review the privacy settings of all your social media accounts, as some accounts have geolocation features that can reveal your location via photos.
- Keep your windows locked! Always keep the door locked as much as possible and always overnight.
What about social settings?
- Out late at a bar? Never leave alone; always have someone with you. And make sure you know precisely how to get to your next destination.
- Never get drunk. Yep, I'm serious. Though many victims are sober at the time of assault, getting drunk can open many opportunities for being victimized, such as being unaware that someone just slipped the "date rape" drug in your fifth drink.
- In fact, never let your drink out of sight. If you don't want to take it with you to the restroom, then either finish it or trash it first.
- Never accept a drink that you didn't see poured, and never accept an opened can of soda.
- If you feel it's time to leave, it probably is. You don't owe any explanations. In fact, if you say, "I have to go," pushy people will ask why and urge you to stay. So instead, silently and nonchalantly make your exit. If someone nabs you along the way, tell them you need to 1) get some air outside, 2) make a phone call or answer a text, 3) get something from your car.
- If it's more obvious you're leaving for the night (e.g., putting on coat and boots), say you 1) just received an urgent text, 2) have an early exam tomorrow, 3) look 'em hard in the eye and say, "I'm leaving. DEAL." Then leave.