How To Prevent Sexual Assault on College Campuses:
There are several precautionary tactics students can practice to reduce risks and increase their sense of security. The following are steps for students to consider:
#1 Title IX
Title IX requires colleges and universities to report incidents of sexual violence and to track patterns of sexual misconduct and other behaviours that create a hostile environment for women.
In spring 2011, the Office for Civil Rights offered additional guidance for interpreting Title IX in its “Dear Colleague Letter.” The letter states that institutions are required to “take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
This is a law by the US judiciary.
#2 TAKE SELF-DEFENSE CLASSES
Self-defence is not only a good practice for your health, but, it’s also a great way to protect yourself when needed. It trains people on awareness. Check if your college has a self-defence course and enrol.
#3 LET SOMEONE KEEP TABS
If you’re going out, let someone know where you will be at. This way, they won’t worry that you went missing unwillingly.
Don’t ever leave drinks open to go use the ladies or gents! Many friends and foes alike are potential predators.
#4 USE A CAMPUS ESCORT SERVICE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE ALONE AT NIGHT
Most colleges offer a campus escort service. It is for promoting campus safety. Take advantage of it!
#5 REVIEW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY SETTINGS
Avoid telling people about your location on social media. Stalkers can easily locate you.
Consider making your profile private or don’t tag locations to photos you post online until you’re no longer at the location. This way, people will not be able to locate or even threaten you.
#6 KEEP AT HAND A DEFENCE OBJECT
If you’re going out, go with either a whistle or a pepper spray.
A whistle will be great for getting the attention of others while calling for help, while pepper spray comes in handy if you don’t necessarily have self-defence skills. Break a window, pull a firearm, just about anything to get the attention of others.
#7 Utilize multiple routes and well-lit areas
Campuses have multiple routes to get to the same destination. To reduce the risk of sexual assault on college campuses, switch routes. While dark shortcuts reduce travel time, students should also stay in well-lit areas at night.
During The Assault Tips
Having this knowledge below can give you the confidence to step in when something isn’t right. But it should never put your own safety at risk.
#8 Create a distraction
Do what you can to interrupt the situation. A distraction can give you a chance to escape.
If you find yourself confronted by an assailant you must remember that, while screaming and struggling may in some instances frighten off an assailant, in other instances such action may further antagonize him/her and bring a more violent action.
Distraction is very important.
#9 Ask directly
Talk directly to the person who might be in trouble. Ask questions like “Who did you come here with?” or “Would you like me to stay with you?”
#10 Refer to an authority
Sometimes the safest way to intervene and prevent sexual assault is to refer to the authorities to check the situation, like an RA or security guard.
Don’t hesitate to call 911.
#11 Enlist others
It can be intimidating to approach a sexual assault scene alone especially as an unarmed female. Enlist another person to support you.
Ask someone to come with you to approach the person at risk. When it comes to expressing concern, sometimes there is power in numbers.
After An Assault
#12 Get to a safe place
Because victims of sexual assault often experience fear and disorientation. They, however, need to immediately leave the location where the attack occurred and find a safe place.
#13 Document what happened
Since predators often know their victims. Therefore, survivors should get evidence. Where difficult to ascertain, victims should not change their clothing or shower because authorities can use kits to confirm the predator’s DNA.
#14 Reach out for help and support
Victims can go straight to the hospital and get to file a report. However, they can also contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline, where a trained representative can provide assistance and direction.
College sexual assault victims who feel uncomfortable calling the police can use their smartphone to report assault through apps, such as JDoe and Callisto.
Seek counselling. Contact your campus health service office and inform them you need a crisis counsellor who specializes in sexual assault. You can also contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE to speak with a counsellor over the phone immediately.
#15 Seek medical attention
Receiving medical attention provides many benefits.
For instance, health practitioners can collect samples to confirm the identity of predators. In fact, many facilities only allow 72-96 hours for collecting forensic evidence. They also screen for STIs or offer medicine that can prevent HIV. Medical practitioners can also help drugged victims.
#16 Consider your legal options
By law, colleges and universities that receive Title IX funding must respond to reports of sexual violence immediately. If schools do not follow through, students can take legal action.
While taking legal action requires the victim to come forward and expose their experience to other people, it also creates awareness for other students and holds the predator accountable.
Students who experience sexual violence outside of rape should still seek medical assistance. Responses to sexual violence include suicide and severe anxiety.