Last month we discussed how females could party safely with resources for victims. This month we hope to promote awareness for assault, rape, stalking, and other violent acts towards college or university students.
There are many dangerous situations or events that may occur while attending college, especially the first year. This article references sensitive subject matters like rape or violent attacks and other hazards for college students. We also note to times of year that these risks increase, steps to take after an assault, and ways to avoid dangerous situations altogether.
FF2C April's mission is to educate and empower female students because society suffers when injustices prevail or go unresolved.
When a student is choosing a school, the following are questions that can protect a potential victim in the event of a sexual attack or stalking situation.
People are less likely to lie in writing than via a nonrecorded phone call to a random potential applicant.
These policies dictate how the school will treat you and your attacker after highly traumatic events have occurred.
Implore these institutions to take drastic measures to protect the students from sexual violence while on campus.
The Clergy Act mandates schools report sexual attacks to federal authorities.
Know and follow laws, policies, mandates on legal lethal vs. non-lethal weapons.
Read reviews from students who gain nothing from telling the truth because, unfortunately, many colleges have no policies in place that safeguard the victim. They do not disclose that in their pretty pamphlets.
Learn about the risk of sexual violence before starting school to ensure your college experience is as safe as possible and because knowing the rape or other criminal policies is essential.
To make matters worse, the school's reputation or the attacker's future suddenly becomes the primary concern. This is a story that has been told and told again because it needs to stop.
The brutality of sexual assault should be openly discussed, called out, and replaced with prevention methods by college institutes, parents, faculty, staff, community, and students alike.
Decades of statistics show a detrimental decline in social, educational, emotional, financial, and more for victims after attacks, especially if the complaint, attack, or offense was unresolved.
Safety while attending a college or university has always been a subject of fear for people.
Parents are afraid for their children. Children have peer pressure on top of many other worries, concerns, and doubts. Faculty and staff have fears of lawsuits and loss of reputation or funds.
These fears are more than suspicions. They are reasons to hide the truth and cause further mental anxiety on victims.
College students are vulnerable and should take precautions for safety as often as possible!
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), sexual violence is happening more at college than other crimes.
The primary data source for RAINN's statistics is the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Researchers interview several thousands of Americans each year to learn about the crimes and victims.
It is recognized as the most reliable source of crime statistics in the U.S. No persons under the age of 12 are included in this research or the statistics.
Rape Statistics of College Students
RAINN says that College women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted than robbed. However, they also note that regardless of being a student or not, college-aged female students between the ages of 18-24 are at risk for sexual violence.
What is rape?
Rape (noun) - www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rape/
According to Merriam Webster.com Rape is defined as:
1: Unlawful sexual activity. It usually sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against a person's will or with a person beneath a certain age or incapable of valid consent because of mental illness, mental deficiency, intoxication, unconsciousness, or deception.
2: It is an outrageous violation.
3: The act or instance of robbing or despoiling, or carrying away a person by force.
What is stalking?
Stalk (verb) stalked; stalking; stalks - Definition is according to Merriam Webster - www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stalking/
Verb: To pursue quarry or prey stealthily.
1: To pursue by stalking.
2: To go through (an area) in search of prey or quarry.
3: To pursue obsessively and to the point of harassment.
What is sexual violence?
According to Wikipedia.com, sexual violence is any act or attempts to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion, acts to traffic a person, or acts directed against a person's sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim. (Wikipedia, n.d.)
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) says that sexual violence is sexual activity when consent is not obtained or freely given.
The CDC also notes that sexual violence affects millions of people each year and that researchers know those numbers are underestimated because victims are sometimes too traumatized to report these assaults, are scared to tell the police or family, and may even feel embarrassed.
These are all common emotions after sexual assaults, rape, stalking, etc. You are not at fault for others' brutality against you!
Consequences of sexual violence (for the victim).
|Physical/Mental Consequences||Financial Consequences||Long term Consequences|
|Bruising, scarring, or bleeding||Time off from work or school||Sexual health problems|
|Suicidal thoughts||Immediate Medical expenses||(PTSD) Post Traumatic |
|(RRP) Rape-related pregnancy||Job loss||Linked to mental |
|Sexual risk-taking behavior like having unprotected sex or multiple partners or unfamiliar partners||The estimated lifetime cost of rape is $122,461 per victim||Linked to bad habits like |
addiction to drug use,
smoking, or drinking
|Psychological concerns can develop or worsen if untreated||Criminal justice services or expenses||Linked to increasing in |
risky sexual activity
|Anxiety, depression, or other negative symptoms or emotions||Pro-longed medical expenses like therapy or STD services and supplies||Linked to decreased |
|Shock||Disruptions to daily routines like tardiness for work or class||Re-occurring reproductive,|
heart, or gastrointestinal
|Genital injuries or trauma||It is linked to long-term economic difficulties.||Linked to health problems |
like high cholesterol or
increased risk for
These are factors like social status, individual perceptions of violence, or physical environments that may be warning signs of sexual violent characteristics in a person.
Remember that these are ONLY possible contributing factors and are not necessarily a direct cause.
Make a note of these early warning signs as a prevention tool. I am not explicitly asking you to avoid these people because I believe people can surprise you. Be aware of the risks and make the best decision for the safety of your present self and future self.
I realize it makes people uncomfortable labeling, judging, or categorizing other people, especially for potential romantic relationships.
However, this is important to do considering that 90% of college students' sexual attacks happen while on a "date"; hence, "date rape" is a severe problem.
These risk factors fluctuate with ever-changing circumstances like the age, location, position, or status in life, religion, or society of the person being identified as a potential perpetrator of an SV attack.
Examples of Influenced Risk Factors for a perpetrator of sexual violence:
Characteristics of Individual
Characteristics of Social and Physical Environment of that Individual
Please ask personal questions before entering unsafe areas with a person (or group of people). Even then, be cautious not to seem like easy prey.
A victim is never to blame; however, the predator doesn't care about playing the blame game. They only look for the next victim, and easy targets are the most vulnerable.
Alcohol-induced targets cannot defend themselves and sometimes may not remember the extent of an attack.
Predators know this and take advantage of intoxicated victims. Especially if opportunities suggest it is safe to do so.
A loud party with a locked bedroom door and passed out victim left alone by friends who thought they were helping would be the perfect occasion, so please avoid it!
Ensure a trusted person or family member knows where you are when in the company of this person or any potential situation that is risky (like going to the woods or other abandoned areas).
Accept the risk of becoming involved with a person who has the qualities of a perpetrator or predator very carefully.
Be aware of signs of early abuse triggers, such as verbal assaults on you or against others.
Please leave the relationship, space, car, or vicinity of this person immediately but very cautiously when in danger or when triggers are exposed.
The means of (SV) on campus will vary from victim to victim, but they all have one commonality: consequence or lack of it.
-Don't Be an Easy Target-
Fight back by empowering yourself with tools that are affordable, educational, and accessible.
Classes can be found online, possibly on your campus, and in cities everywhere. Prices vary, so shop around for the best fit for your budget and physical acclimation to fighting. I say it like that intentionally.
Please get comfortable saying that you are willing and capable of fighting because that is okay.
It is okay to defend yourself and your body. That is your right! We are often taught to be passive, and that's okay too.
Understand what you are willing to do when under attack BEFORE being in that situation to minimize doubts in times that action is needed.
The action can be to fight physically or create means for protecting yourself without physical confrontation or force like minimizing alcohol consumption and never entering secluded areas.
Please understand it still might come to fighting a predator, regardless of circumstances. Sexual violence is unpredictable, and that is a simple truth. That is why it is critical to implore SEVERAL means for self-protection.
You can also find trainers that will come to you. However, always remember to check their credentials like a business license.
Do not meet someone from apps or sites like craigslist in secluded places, and do not meet alone. It is harder to attack a group of girls or women than an individual.
Read reviews and check the (BBB) Better Business Bureau for more detailed information about that business or person offering these services/training.
Keep a physical copy of this information and make sure that it is accurate.
Know the laws about self-defense weapons that are lethal and nonlethal. Ensure campus policy allows some form of protection for the students (you).
Talk to roommates about sharing the cost to save more. Check reviews and shop for deals.
Arlo is my favorite because I can monitor my property from my cell phone no matter where I am, but "Ring" is another excellent surveillance system.
Ensure you NEVER tell people about your personal means of protection. Follow laws or rules for installing these sorts of systems.
Post a sign to warn people they are being monitored (state laws usually require this much-always verify first!) and keep dates on camera at your place, where you will have a slight upper hand, rather than going to their possibly secluded or sound-proofed room.
Ensure your phone tracker is turned on so that your last known location can be tracked in the event of an attack.
Run sequences for different dangerous situations and what you would do versus what you can do. This process is teaching your brain not to fear the unknown because you know what to do.
You can run, fight, or whatever else you feel will resolve the situation effectively. Of course, no guarantees can be made because all sexual violence attacks are different.
However, empowering ourselves to accept these potential situations and prepare some form of an action plan is sometimes our best means of protection.
Aggressively protecting our body is every human beings' right! Do not blame yourself for other people's horrendous behaviors.
Learn what is needed to achieve your goals of physical fitness to achieve your goals in times of emergency.
If you head to college with dreams of partying and using alcohol excessively (or at all-abstinence is best!), please understand you are drastically increasing the risk of being sexually assaulted.
Statistics show that this is a fact, not a myth parents concocted to stop the fun. It is to save the victim (potentially-YOU) the pain that comes with alcohol-related violence and save the perpetrator who is less likely to rape when they are not intoxicated (as statistics show).
What is binge drinking?
(NIAAA) - The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/college-drinking
According to NIAAA - Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08%-0.08grams of alcohol per deciliter-or higher.
For a typical adult, NIAAA says this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male) or 4 or more (female) in about 2 hours.
More stats from NIAAA:
Keep in mind that due to the devastation Covid-19 caused, we have no known statistics about the combination of alcohol, sexual violence, and the virus.
We do not know the full effects; therefore, it is critical to refrain from binge drinking, underage drinking, and alcohol use in general. It is risky to incorporate all these factors into your college experience.
We need you safe, so please understand the importance of avoiding situations that can negatively impact your life (permanently).
This balance or network of help and support is your guide to regaining a sense of normalcy after traumas. Some days you may need to focus on self-care, and other days will be spent focusing on the criminal aspect of your situation and so on.
The goal is to find a balance between the person you were and the person you have become because of a traumatic event like an SV.
You will be okay; you are not alone, and you must remember that:
YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME!
If you or someone you know needs help after an (SV) PLEASE get to safety and follow steps to help.
#1- Call the police or the campus police if school policy requires you to do so.
#2-Call a trusted and supportive friend or family member because the next sequence of events is not easy to endure, just like the actual crime itself, so have support if possible.
Do not feel ashamed or guilty for the actions of others. Sexual violence (or any other kind) is not the victim's fault!
#3- Seek medical attention.
Getting medical attention is critical because (STD's) Sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, or other physical and mental traumas need to be evaluated, treated, accounted for in case of criminal proceedings and to begin the healing process.
#4- Contact support from trained professionals of National Sexual Hotlines (Helplines) like:
Is a safe place to work out the emotional aspect of surviving traumatic events.
Learn tools to build healthy relationships again and deal with anxiety, stress, suicidal thoughts, and much more with a trained and licensed professional.
Always check reviews and credentials from persons or businesses before revealing private information.
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, June 1). Pregnancy Resulting from Rape. Retrieved from cdc.gov: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/understanding-RRP-inUS.html CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, February 5). Sexual Violence. Retrieved from cdc.gov : https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/index.html cdc.gov . (2016 ). National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). Atlanta, Georgia: Kathleen c. Basile, Sarah DeGue, Kathryn Jones, Kimberley Freire, Jenny Dills, Sharon Smith, Jerris Raiford. Retrieved from census.gov. RAINN.ORG. (2021). Campus Sexual Violence: Statistics. Retrieved from rainn.org: https://www.rainn.org/statistics/campus-sexual-violence Wikipedia. (n.d.). Sexual Violence. Retrieved from Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_violence