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5 Ways to Stay Safe As Campus Sexual Assaults Persist

At the beginning of October, the Cal Poly SLO community experienced two reports of rape within one week of each other. This news prompted Cal Poly’s President Armstrong, to announce an initiative to enhance campus security by increasing security patrols and cameras on campus and expanding the security escort system, Mustang Patrol

Despite these safety precautions, rapes can, and do, happen regardless. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 26.4% of female undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force or incapacitation. 

While preventing rape is never the victim’s responsibility, here are five things you can do to feel safer on campus:  

  1. Don’t Walk Alone/Avoid Deserted Areas of Campus

When classes finish, you’re tired and most likely just want to get home as soon as you can. This can mean taking shortcuts and walking through less populated areas of campus, often at night, because they are quicker. While this may save you a couple of minutes, it could put you in a dangerous position. Instead of going by yourself, find some friends to walk home with and use more populated areas. If you don’t know someone to walk with, call a friend or family member and stay on the phone with them until you get home. You can also request a Mustang Patrol escort Thursday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Simply call Cal Poly Police Dispatch at 805-756-2281 to request a safety walk. 

  1. Never Leave Your Drink Unattended  

Perpetrators often use date rape drugs to incapacitate their victims by placing the drugs in their drinks. At parties, never leave your drink unattended and be cautious about accepting drinks from others. When possible, get them yourself and choose drinks that come in sealed containers. 

  1. Be Aware of the Emergency Blue Light Phones

As you walk around campus, take note of the bright blue towers that line the many walkways, structures and roads. These are Emergency Blue Light Phones that automatically dial 911. Once the button is pressed, the light at the top of the tower will start flashing, you will be connected to a University Police Dispatcher and they will be notified of your location.  

  1. Carry Safety Tools 

Adding self-defense tools to your keychain or wallet is an easy way to feel a bit safer while navigating campus. Amazon offers a wide variety of small, inexpensive tools such as personal alarms, tactical pens and glass breakers, pepper spray and whistles.

  1. Educate Yourself by Taking Self-Defense Classes 

Taking a self-defense class can provide you with practical skills you can apply in potentially dangerous situations. Being able to hold or fight off an attacker can give the police enough time to get to the scene or bystanders enough time to step in. It may also give you the opportunity to get away and find someone to help, use an Emergency Blue Light Phone or call the police on your own. The Recreation Center at Cal Poly SLO provides a series of Krav Maga Self Defense Workshops that are free for Cal Poly students. All you have to do is sign up through ASI. For more information on upcoming classes, use the link below. 

https://access.asi.calpoly.edu/Program/GetProgramDetails?courseId=2576e6d2-ff57-4981-9930-94895e616f08&semesterId=fd3b048c-ed99-47d9-a66d-c1ad75fed1b8

Lena Van Duzer

Cal Poly '24

I am a sophomore Journalism major at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I also plan to pursue an economics minor. My hobbies include writing and reading and outside of the university I am a competitive horseback rider.
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