September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month but Every Month Should Be!
On campus and off, in school and in life, you’ve got rights. Learn them and embrace them and they’ll liberate and strengthen you.
A friend who’s been raped may confide in you after the attack (sometimes years after). When someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted simply listen quietly and let the person express her/his feelings. And, don’t ask probing or judgmental questions like “Why did you leave the party with someone you didn’t know?” Remember it’s not the victim’s fault, even if they did something “stupid” that made them vulnerable.
Despite all your awareness, alertness and the other skills that have been proven to maximize safety, there’s no surefire way to prevent a crime. If you’ve been raped, go immediately to a hospital emergency room (ideally with a friend) for an examination.
Most rapes involve someone known to the victim, so consider these hard questions beforehand to help you act decisively, if necessary. Under what circumstance(s) would physical resistance be called for? Could I hurt someone I know and trust, if he was trying to assault me? Could I treat a boyfriend or good friend who was trying to rape or assault me the same as I would treat a stranger?
If you were raped, assaulted, bullied or harassed by a date, boy/girlfriend, classmate, roommate, campus acquaintance or even someone you worked with, would you be emotionally able to report the incident to the police or the appropriate authorities?
Communicate clearly about how you want AND expect to be treated…and this applies to both girls and boys. Acting sorry or unsure sends mixed messages and it can be difficult to know how a person feels without hearing it, assertively, from them.
Sherlock Holmes was using forensic science before we even HAD the word forensic. From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear, this week, Crime Prevention Specialist Susan Bartelstone explores the real forensics behind the fictional detective’s greatest cases.
Are you afraid to disagree with your boyfriend or partner or fear making him/her angry? Has your boyfriend/partner hit, punched, pushed, shaken or choked you? Or, are you afraid he/she will? Are you afraid to breakup with him/her? These are some of the signs of an abusive relationship.
Sometimes the bad guys put substances in the punch bowl or into a drink at a party, bar or club to make a the target of a sexual assault dazed, confused and unable to resist. These are called date rape drugs.
Most rapes are not committed strangers but by someone you already know: a boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, blind date, friend of the family, someone who lives nearby, works with you, delivers packages to your home. Physical force may be involved or simply the threat of force. There may only be emotional badgering or intimidation.
Clear verbal communication without intimidation or threats = consensual sex. Both parties must be awake when the act occurs; and, many states have laws that a person must be sober or not mentally impaired in any way in order to give true consent.
If it’s just you and the gurls (or guys) going out on the town, make a pact to watch out for each other, so no one wakes up with regrets the morning after.
Fraternities giving parties should designate, on a rotating basis, several “sober brothers” who agree not to drink and are responsible for monitoring the behavior of party-goers to make sure nothing gets out of hand.