Oct.13.2016- Public Safety Department Offers Tips to Reduce Sexual Assault
COLLEGE YEARS—HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE
We all know that the college experience is not only about academics (a shocking revelation, I’m sure). A social life is important as well. In college, we often develop new relationships that may last a lifetime. Personally, some of my still closest friends are those I met in college.
However (and you knew this was coming), there are factors that can contribute to it being a rewarding experience, or a regrettable one. We all want it to be the former. Sexual assaults on college campuses continues to be a major topic of concern across the country. For this communication, I just want to focus on two things that can have an impact —alcohol use and bystanders.
We can’t deny the presence of alcohol on college campuses. Underage drinking is a risky venture, and one that could result in a criminal record and have a negative effect on post college employment.
Drinking in excess has its risks as well. It is important for you, and your friends, toknow your alcohol limitations. The vast majority of sexual assaults committed against college students involve alcohol. Intoxication can make you significantly more vulnerable to assaults by impairing your judgment or inhibiting your physical ability to fight off an attacker. Binge drinkers are at a particularly high risk of suffering incapacitation, blackout or unconsciousness.
Suggestions to reduce the risk of being the victim of sexual assault when alcohol is involved:
- Watch your drinks: Never leave your drink unattended. If you go to a restroom or other location, either ask a trusted to friend to watch it for you or take your drink with you. Never drink a beverage that has been given to you by someone you don’t know or taken from a communal alcohol source (like a punch bowl).
- Trust your instincts: If you attend a party alone and get a bad feeling about a location or a person, leave immediately. We often subconsciously process body language and other danger indicators without realizing it. If something feels very wrong or you feel pursued, head in the direction of the nearest crowd, lighted area or building. Start talking loudly on your phone (or pretend to do so). Many attackers are reluctant to pursue potential victims who are aggressive or loud, which draws attention.
- Traveling alone: It is advisable to always attend social gatherings with a group of friends that you trust. However, if you do go out alone, always tell someone where you are going and avoid walking in unlit or unknown parts of campus or the community. If you have a safety concern, activate Rave Guardian from your cell phone and Public Safety can track your travel if needed. I have to seize this opportunity to plug the request that every student should register in the Rave Guardian app, if not already done.
- Bystanders: Look out for your friends. If you sense a friend is drinking too much or is about to leave with someone while being intoxicated, don’t hesitate to intervene. They may be upset with you at the time, but should thank you later. Your actions just might prevent a bad situation from occurring.
These are just a few basic, but important tips that may contribute to your college experience being a rewarding and fun time of your life.
Chief of Police
Clayton State University