Parties – A great social life is part of the college experience but remember NEVER put down your beverage and come back to it. Date rape drugs are prevalent on the college scene and are impossible to detect without a test kit. Go to parties as a group, watch out for each other and leave together. Alcohol is involved in the majority of university sexual assaults and a nice guy can quickly turn into a different and violent person when he is under the influence.
ATMs and Parking Lots – Cash machines and parking lots are frequent stops in college. Unfortunately the bad guys see ATMs in less-traveled areas as a hunting ground; ditto dark parking lots, the site of a high percentage of campus assaults. Make a very-public ATM your cash source and either avoid poorly lighted or deserted parking lots or go with a friend. For predator avoidance there’s safety in numbers. Try to avoid parking next to vans, or if one has parked next to you, go back and ask a security guard to escort you to your car.
Hall Cruising – A big trend in on-campus violence comes from hall cruising, where innocent-appearing predators gain access to dorms, sororities or residence halls by trusting residents. They then cruise the halls looking for unlocked doors to find their victims. Put a stop to this type of violence by always locking your dorm room door and never giving strangers access to your building.
Campus Shuttle – Late night library or social visits are part of college life but coming home you are often alone and while campuses seem like islands of safety, they are open to outsiders from every direction. Either walk with friends or take advantage of the campus shuttle when you are crossing campus at night.
View Just Yell Fire: Campus Life film online (no cost) – The Just Yell Fire nonprofit, created by and for girls and young women, produced a film that anyone can watch online. It raises awareness of the many dangers girls face at college and offers some avoidance strategies. Also included is a Dating Bill of Rights to remind girls they have rights in relationships, for example to report violence against them, to have friends outside of a relationship…to help stop dating abuse. Finally, there are some street-fighting getaway tips from expert martial artists any girl can use to get away from someone twice their size, such as eye gouge, whipslap an ear and more.
Here is the URL for the free online video that has been lauded by universities, law enforcement, teachers, parents, students and shelters across the United States: www.justyellfire.org.
About Just Yell Fire: Just Yell Fire combats violence against girls and young women. It has grown into a 1.8 million girl revolution across 66 countries and is the basis of stay-safe programs at universities (including MIT), high schools (from Chenai, India to Nashville, Tenn.), and shelters everywhere. More information: www.justyellfire.org.