Sexual assault is any type of sexual relation not involving consent. A sexual can happen to anyone and it can happen anywhere, anytime. I’m not trying to scare you I’m just telling you that it happens in the strangest of places at the strangest of times. Recently there has been some increase in regard for personal safety as well as safety among friends.
So here are some safety tips that may be redundant, but it’s better to read it everywhere than not see it at all and have no idea what to do.
NOTE: Assaults can happen to male and females. Perpetrators can also be male or female. Age is not a factor, and neither is race. It’s not what you wear or how you act; it’s how vulnerable you appear to be.
1.Stay aware of your surroundings
I get it, your phone is your life and every little buzz needs immediate attention, that’s fine just don’t stare at it if you’re alone and in the dark. If someone looks suspicious walk the other way, or call someone while you’re alone until you reach a safe location, or better yet use the buddy system.
2. Use the buddy system
Your friends are your lifeline. If you are out having a good time make sure that whoever came with you leaves with you. If they leave with someone else, check in on them to make sure they’re ok. If you are going somewhere at a weird time, take someone with you. If there is no one to go with you, go at a different time; rearranging a schedule is something small compared to a possible assault. If you are alone you can always wait inside of a building and call a friend to come and pick you up.
3. Stay in well lit, populated areas
Even if there is a shortcut, avoid it at night. Odds are, if you’re surrounded by people and they hear you scream someone will come help or call 911.
4. If you are in a situation where there is someone harassing you; SCREAM!
Most predators will choose someone thinking they’ll be easy to take over. If you scream they’ll most likely back off because they didn’t expect it.
5. Keep your hands free!
If you have your hands full there are better chances of you being taken over and not able to defend yourself. If you’re on the phone, use headphones so you can talk with it in your pocket and still have something in your other hand like a coffee. If faced with an assault, throw it at them. Confusing them also helps.
6. If they want something, give it to them
If they are looking for money, just toss them your wallet and run away. Odds are they only wanted the money anyway.
“But Damaris, that’s a lot of cash in there.”
NO AMOUNT OF CASH IS WORTH YOUR PERSONAL SAFETY!
Credit or debit cards can be replaced, unlike you.
7. Use your resources
Campus Safety has an escort program set in place so if you feel unsafe at any time of day, you can call them at (717)815-1314 and they can escort you to your car or to your ON CAMPUS RESIDENCE. Sorry guys this does help if you live on jackson or another off campus residence.
DISCLAIMER: Student officers will not always be too keen to do this. Sometimes they will say, “We (Campus Safety) are around,” and will not escort you.
Also keep in mind that there are blue emergency poles around campus so you can contact assistance in case you do not have a cellphone on you.
8. Use a personal safety app
Unlike other personal safety apps, React Mobile is available for Android and iOS devices and does not require a subscription. The app allows you to add your contacts who can follow you when you’re doing any type of activity whenever you feel unsafe, or just as a regular “I need to run errands but I haven’t told anyone where I am or when I’ll be back, might as well just turn this on to check in and stuff.” It gives you a choice of time frame and if not turned off will alert your pre-selected contacts. It has an SOS button that will set off an alert to your preselected contact(s) via text, email, facebook, or twitter with your GPS location. When the SOS button is also activated, it offers to call 911 and the only way to deactivate the alert is to punch in the cancel alert code. There are other apps out there, this is just the only one I could find that didn’t require a subscription.
In addition to all of this, York College offers a self defence course taught by the head of Campus Safety, Ed Bruder, who by the way is an amazing professor.
Stay Classy. Or not. Your Choice.
But do stay safe.