“Nobody can hurt me without MY permission.” ——Mohandas Ghandi
Project Safe Girls seeks to empower girls, ages 5-23 attending school through education and teaching self-defense. By providing a supportive and energetic environment, participants will gain confidence and improve self-esteem while learning the basics and importance of safety!
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Back to School: Spotlighting Campus Crimes and Violence…
It is time to get ready for campus life, with September right around the corner. Project Safe Girls wants you to be aware and prepared. Awareness is a good first step toward protecting yourself. Being prepared is the best defense.
Campus crimes occur much more frequently than any of us realize. Crimes on College Campuses and crimes nearby college campuses frequently go unreported and/or under reported. A recent study by The U.S. Department of Justice on The Sexual Victimization of College Women reveals some disturbing statistics. Among the findings:
- Annually 4.9% of college Co-Eds experience a rape. In other words, the victimization rate is 49 rapes per 1000 female students.
- When one considers that the average college career now lasts 5 years, there is a 25% likelihood of a rape between Freshman Orientation and Graduation Day.
- This data becomes more disturbing when analyzed by the number of incidents rather than the number of victims. When the analysis is based on incident count the rate increases by nearly 30%. This takes into account women who have been victimized more than once.
- Crimes categorized as sexual victimization other than rape touched 3.4%, or 34 per 1000, college Co-Eds annually.
- This data also becomes more disturbing when analyzed by the number of incidents rather than the number of victims. Analyzed this way, the rate increases by a whopping 397%.
- 9 out of 10 victims know the person who sexually victimizes them.
- 71% of sexual victimization of college women occurs on a date – known more commonly as date rape.
- 88%of sexual crimes against women occur between the hours of 6 pm and 6 am.
- Sexual victimization of college Co-Eds most often occurs in a residence (on or off campus), with nearly 60% occurring in the victim’s own residence, 30% occurring in other campus living quarters and 10% at a Fraternity.
- Overwhelmingly, data indicates that women who attempt to protect or defend themselves avoid becoming the victim of a completed rape. While protecting or defending oneself is not a 100% guarantee, it is overwhelmingly the best action to take in order to avoid becoming the victim of a completed rape.
- In the instances where women used force or a self-defense product like pepper spray, Mace, a stun gun or a Taser, just under 31% of the attempted rapes resulted in completed rapes.
- Shockingly, fewer than 5% of completed or attempted rapes are actually reported to law enforcement officials. Reasons indicated for not doing so include: Not serious enough to report; not clear a crime was committed; not wanting family or others to know; lack of proof; fear of reprisal by the assailant; fear of hostility by police and fear police would not believe the incident occurred or was serious enough.
- Another frequent and unwanted violation of women on college campuses is stalking. An annual incidence rate 156.5 stalkings per 1000 Co-Eds is reported. Clearly this is a bigger problem and requires further attention, study and consideration.
If you are assaulted or in a dating violence relationship PLEASE REPORT THE INCIDENT to your campus police department AND PRESS CHARGES! ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS PRESS CRIMINAL CHARGES! And, I strongly suggest that you go to the local DV or Rape Crisis agency in your college community as well as filing a POLICE REPORT WITH THE TOWN/CITY POLICE DEPARTMENTS! Cover all of your bases. Do not leave any rock unturned.
Too many assailants, universities and colleges are getting away with sweeping college crimes under the carpet. DO NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN TO YOU! Remember, YOU DID NOT DESERVE IT! IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT!
Parents – get involved in your daughter’s safety during college. Contact me as we are gearing up our tour to bring personal safety training (6 hours on a weekend) to campuses everywhere!
Campus Safety….Stay Safe!
Here we are hustling and bustling around to make sure that everything is in place and college students are ready to move in with all of their belongings for their dorm rooms or apartments. Wal-Mart, Target, Bed/Bath & Beyond are buzzing with parents and students. But most importantly, students safety is so overlooked by the student, the parents, the schools and administration by simple lack of information. THE TRUTH!
During this exciting time it is important to remain aware of the risks surrounding you. You may be in a college campus community with your peers, but it is still a different environment. Regardless of where you are from and what country you are in, there are necessary precautions that you must take:
- Use the buddy system when going out – This may sound lame, but it works. Always make sure a friend knows where you are going and when you are expected to return. Make sure there is at least one person whom you can trust when going out that can be responsible for getting everyone home safely. There is an application for iphones so that you can take instant pictures to send to your Emergency Contacts. Use it!
- Watch your drink - Never put your drink down. Never allow someone you do not know pour you a drink. Better yet, pour your own. Never leave your drink unattended. If you leave your drink, do not return to it; get yourself a new one. You never know who may want to slip a drug into your drink.
- Watch how much you drink – Alcohol is the number one rape drug. In as many as 90% of sexual assault cases, the perpetrator, the victim or both have used alcohol. If someone is persistently making you drink, be cautious of the situation.
- Save Campus Police or Security numbers in your phone – This might be the most important number in your phone. Many campuses offer security escorts to any location on campus. If you are at the library late at night, and feel uncomfortable walking back to your dorm, do not hesitate to call campus security. They are there for your safety; never feel embarrassed to call them.
- Be aware of your surroundings - Be observant at all times, especially at night. If you see something suspicious, call campus security or 911. If you feel you are being followed, cross the street and change direction. If you are alone, walk in a well-lit area and be visible; wear bright colors. Do not use headphones. Make sure you are alert and walk with confidence.
- Always keep your doors locked – Even if you are expecting a guest, have your doors locked so no one else may enter freely; never prop doors open. When there is a knock on the door, be sure to identify the person before answering. Insist on having the locks on your doors changed right in front of you! If it means paying an extra $25.00 or so for peace of mind, isn’t it worth it?
- Keep your valuables in a safe place – One of the largest campus crimes is theft. Never leave your personal belongings unattended. Only carry a small amount of cash and one credit card on you. When leaving your room, if only for a few minutes, be sure to lock your doors. It only takes a few seconds for someone to make you a victim of theft.
- Make copies of your driver’s license, student id, visa, passport, or I-94 – Make copies of all important documents. Make sure to leave one set of copies at home with your parents.
- Do not trust easily - Not all people can be trusted. Most sexual assaults are committed by acquaintances. Be cautious of over-friendly people.
One last thing to remember is totrust your instincts; if it feels wrong, it most likely is wrong. Remember your safety comes first. If at any time you have questions regarding your safety, contact Project Safe Girls, your campus police. It is never too late. Everyone at your university is to be there to help you and make your experience more enjoyable. Unfortunately you are not assigned or have a designated personal bodyguard. Your time in college is supposed to be fun, exciting, and educational, and it can be, as long as you use caution in every situation. The above are suggestions to keep you safer. No one can truly prevent victimization 100% but do consider taking a personal safety course to prepare you mentally and physically.
Remember that if you are victimized, it is never your fault. Seek help and support from a hospital, local police, campus police, and the victim services agency where you are.
Campus Safety…You Can Never Get Enough Information
During college tour guides are probably not your best source of information; they do not usually have extensive statistics or information on campus safety. I suggest approaching students you see on the college campus who are involved in their normal routine and asking them about their perceptions of campus safety. While it is important to keep in mind that this type of unscientific “man on the street” survey should not be taken too seriously, students might provide some insight you can use. If you do this at all of the campuses you visit, you can compare the answers and get a general idea about how comfortable students are.
Also, as a parent on a tour with my son or daughter, I would stop by the campus public safety office and the city/town police department and chat with the employees and Chief of Police there. Of course, they will be putting their best foot forward, but it can be enlightening when you compare the departments at different campuses that you visit.
Now since at this time the majority of students are going through freshmen orientation with and without parents present so I strongly encourage both the parent and student to do the above and check out below for valuable information if you didn’t during your tour of campus. Even if you are a returning student……READ AND BECOME EDUCATED ABOUT YOUR SAFETY, IT’S YOUR RIGHT!
What should parents/guardians and students look for on campuses and in the student housing to ensure safety?
One key item to look for in residence halls is the access control system. That is, how are residents differentiated from non-residents when entering the buildings? Other things to look for: evidence that external doors are frequently propped open, sufficient lighting in and around the main entrance, and shrubbery and trees pruned back from first- and second-floor windows. And, request that you have the keyed entry lock to your room “re-keyed” even if it cost you $25….split it with your roommate(s) for peace of mind. You may wish to inquire about the installation of a “keyless” deadbolt as well to give all of you more safety security.
What crime statistics should parents and students request from a school before arriving on campus?
Requesting information from the college is one way to do it. The college is legally mandated to provide that information. I also suggest parents and students do their own research. The Department of Education compiles and makes available campus safety statistics by reporting criminal offenses for over 6,000 colleges and universities in the United States at the following Web site: http://ope.ed.gov/security/.
Again, it is important to keep in mind that oftentimes these types of comparisons are not apples to apples, especially when you look at data from a large urban campus with a high percentage of commuter students and compare it to campus safety data from a suburban or rural campus with a large base of resident students.
Another caveat is that a campus safety department that is doing a good job cracking down on crime on campus will report more crimes than a department that is asleep at the switch and reporting fewer crimes. Even though there are more crimes reported at the first campus, I would argue that the proactive campus safety department makes the first campus safer than the second one does.
Any student assaulted on campus must follow policy and procedures; however, ALWAYS PRESS CHARGES as well as filing a police report at the city/town police department. Never take no for answer – it is their duty to file your report and to press charges if applicable.
What preventative measures work best for students to stay safe on their college campus?
It is important to remember that colleges and universities are generally safe places. An 18- to 22-year-old is safer, statistically, on their college campus than they are off campus. Because campuses are safer, it can lead to students often letting down their guard. Therefore, the bottom line is that there is no substitute for personal vigilance when it comes to campus safety.
Personal vigilance = being prepared mentally, emotionally and physically. Learn how you can be your own best bodyguard.
YOUR Safety on Your College Campus…
With recent murders and assaults on campus grounds and off campus, it’s an excellent time to remind college students the important of safety and awareness. I cannot drill this into the minds of our female students as well as their parents to keep pressing safety tips.
- ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings. If something seems suspicious or you feel uneasy, notify campus police and/or the city/town police departments right away. DO NOT WAIT! TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
- Keep your dorm/apartment room door locked at ALL times (even when you are in the room or just run down the hall to another room or to the restroom/shower). DO NOT LOAN YOUR KEYS TO ANYONE, NOT EVEN FRIENDS!
- Keep the phone numbers for campus safety/campus security/campus police in your cell phone so that you always have them on hand in case of emergency. Always carry your cell phone in a holder on the waistline of your pants/shorts. Always have it on your “person”; never in the bottom of your bookbag or purse.
- Don’t walk anywhere around campus alone at night. Walk with a friend, or call campus security for an escort. There is nothing wrong with the good ole Buddy system.
- Check underneath your car and in the backseat of your car before approaching your car in a parking lot/deck.
- Use the remote alarm for your car that will go off when pressed to draw attention to your situation if needed. Do not hesitate for one second.
- When you go out, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. Let this person know of your route and it wouldn’t hurt to call her to let her know that you arrived safely and call when you are on your way back. God forbid something would happen, she would have pertinent information to give to the police and they could act quickly if you are missing.
- Do not give out too much personal information on social networking sites (ie. Facebook). Often people are giving out way too much information about where they can find them, essentially giving them a road map.
- Do not accept drinks from strangers and be careful about drinking too much when out as well. Use your common sense – you don’t have to “keep up” with anyone and your safety is the most important thing to you.
Fight Back; Dealing With Sexual Harassment On College Campuses…
Every 21 hours a college female is raped. Fifteen percent of all college women are sexually victimized during their time at school (U.S. Department of Justice study). Seven out of every ten college women will experience some form of sexual harassment (Planned Parenthood study) before graduation, but relatively few will report the incident. Unfortunately, in today’s world, learning about how to stay safe is just as, if not more, important than learning about history and math. Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming just another statistic.
Get the Facts
The U.S. government defines “sexual harassment” as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Deliberately loosely written, this definition includes anything from inappropriate comments to unwelcome touching to sexual assault. Sexual harassment can occur on any campus at any time and can happen to any person regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or social/economic background. Harassment can take the form of verbal, nonverbal, or physical confrontation. The act is about power rather than sexual gratification, and those who allow sexual harassment to continue have their right to live in a positive, comfortable environment taken away.
Ignoring the situation only gives the harasser permission to continue. If you feel like someone is going beyond your comfort zone, tell him or her in a direct, assertive way. Specify exactly what makes you feel uncomfortable, and state that if the behavior continues, action will be sought. Documenting this statement in either letter or e-mail form (complete with dates and times) will provide proof that the conduct in question was recognized and that you asked for it to stop. Telling friends and colleagues will alert those around you, and telling professors and campus security will help prevent the action in the future. Should harassment become more severe, alert campus authorities, file an official complaint, file charges and seek help through your school’s crisis prevention center. File a report with the city/town police department as well.
Speaking up against sexual harassment is the only effective way to protect yourself and your community from potential danger.
Know the Facts About College Safety…
College is supposed to be one of the best times in a person’s life. With so much to learn and experience, it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement. But what about safety? Though they might seem self-contained and cozy, college campuses aren’t isolated from crime.
- Rape is the most common violent crime on US campuses.
- College students are victims of identity theft more often than other groups.
- More college students are stalked than other groups.
Why is there so much crime on college campuses? When a bunch of young adults from all walks of life are thrown together, almost anything could happen.
Having a few beers with friends at a bar is one thing, but getting tanked at a frat house filled with strangers is quite another. Alcohol plays a major role in sexual assaults. In fact, more than 70,000 college students are victims of an alcohol-related assault each year. If you want to stay safety-conscious, stay aware of how much you’ve had to drink.
Date rape drugs:
Your safety can also depend on who you know. Nearly all cases of date rape are instances where the victim knew his or her attacker. If you stop paying attention at a club or crowded college party, it’s easy for someone to slip an odorless, colorless date rape drug into your drink. Don’t be suspicious of all your friends, but keep an eye on your beverage.
Labs aren’t the problem. Students who are unfamiliar with computer safety precautions are. Many college students frequent campus computer labs to study and communicate with family and friends. Unfortunately, these labs are the perfect breeding ground for identity theft. You jeopardize your safety every time you enter personal information into lab computers. Use a private desktop or laptop to check your bank accounts, pay bills, and shop online.
Campuses are a common place for stalkers to prey on their victims. When college relationships end badly, stalking can and does occur. Worse, campus stalkers are familiar with their victims’ daily routines. If you suspect you are being stalked, don’t wait for the situation to get out of control – notify the campus authorities immediately.
College safety guidelines:
It’s important to have a good time and enjoy your college experience, but you have to stay smart about safety. Just exercise good judgment and common sense:
- Lock everything from your doors to your windows.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and be aware of people as they approach you.
- Check your car as you approach for someone hiding underneath or on the passenger side.
- Don’t carry large sums of money.
- Travel in groups for added safety.
- Stick to well lit areas if you have to walk on campus at night.
- Yell “fire!” instead of “help!” if you are in danger, because people are more likely to respond to that.
- Don’t hang around outside your car or dorm room too long before going in.
- Beware of headphones when you are jogging alone. They drown out any noise an approaching attacker might make.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you should be back.
These are all easy things that could make a big difference in your campus life. Don’t get so preoccupied with safety that it keeps you from having a good time, but keep your well-being in mind.
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