Your college years can be some of the best times of your life, but there are plenty of unknowns to consider, especially when it comes to safety. With one in five college women becoming the victim of an assault, staying safe on campus is something to take seriously.
The good news is there are some smart, simple steps everyone can take to improve their chances of staying safe on college campus. Here are some basic tips.
Never walk alone at night. Use common sense and don’t break this rule, not even once. Walk with friends, establish your own system for having someone walk you home, or call the college’s service that provides a safety escort home on campus. Most schools have some version of a “safe walk,” or escort service that operates during the overnight hours.
Always make sure someone knows where you are. Whether it’s checking in with a roommate or friend or using an app to keep faraway family or friends informed, make sure someone always know where you’re supposed to be.
Stay in control. College and drinking are hard to separate, but it’s well worth considering the consequences of inebriation and the role of alcohol in assaults on campus – particularly sexual assaults on women. More than 97,000 students ages 18 to 24 are the victim of alcohol-related sexual assault or rape. The vast majority of rapes – 90 percent – at college campuses involve some kind of alcohol use, either by the victim or assailant, or both. So if you are going to drink, do it responsibly.
Have a buddy system. The old buddy system might date back to your elementary school field trip days, but with good reason. If there’s one commonality to a date rape or sexual assault scenario, it’s when the victim is separated from her friends, and ends up alone. Make it a rule and keep your buddy pact to stay together at parties, always.
Know where the emergency phones are on your campus. They’re not a failsafe, but 92 percent of college campuses still employ the blue light phone system. Aside from being a place to quickly call campus security, some say the blue light beacons tend to be a deterrent to crime, so staying close to them can help keep you out of harm’s reach.
Carry a personal safety device. Mobile phones are great, but what if you can’t get to your phone quickly enough, or your phone gets taken away? We don’t like to think about such scenarios, but a wearable safety device – like the Wearsafe Tag – keeps you connected to a trusted circle of family and friends with the press of a button. The Wearsafe Tag is discreet enough to remain out of view, and silently vibrates to let you know your alert was received by your circle of contacts, who also receive an immediate, live audio stream from where you are. Your contacts also receive your exact GPS location and up to a minute of sound from just before you sent the alert. All that provides the context for them to decide how best to help you, whether it’s coming over to knock on your door, finding you at a partay or bar, giving you a call or calling the police.,. Think such a high-tech device is cost prohibitive? The Wearsafe Tag is only $5 a month – making it a no brainer for personal safety on campus.
Learn self-defense. Not only can a lesson in self-defense teach you some moves that could make the difference when you need it, but knowing a little self-defense can boost confidence, make you more aware of your surroundings, and develop a fighter mentality when you’re faced with a tough situation. Those are all good reasons to invest some time in something that could keep you safe – and give your loved ones a little peace of mind. Many colleges and universities have started to offer their own self-defense classes too, so check with yours to see what’s available. Otherwise look into martial arts studios in your area, and ask local law enforcement for recommendations.