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The Long Walk Home: Staying Safe on the Streets

The University has released several unnerving emails about sexual assaults on campus lately, and we must fight back. Collegiettes™, empower yourselves by practicing safe walking. Don’t be a victim.
Here are some tips to make your walk safer:
1. Walk in areas with light and traffic. This may seem obvious, but it can be tempting to take the fast, quiet way home after spending the late hours of the night at the library. However, the closer you are to other people, the safer you will be. This will also put you in a good position to use tip #2.

2. If you do feel uneasy, dip into the closest business you see. 
This may be hard if it is really late, but convenience stores should be open. Going into a brightly lit building will make you less of a target, and you know someone will be there behind the counter or cleaning. Plus, a business will have a phone for you to use if you know you are in danger.
3. Carry a charged cell phone. I’m horrible at this one. For some reason, charging my cell phone is just never something I think about. But it truly can save your life. If you feel like you might be unsafe, call a friend. (See tip #4.)
4.  Tell a friend where you are. It’s happened to all of us. You’re in the library with your head buried in your books, when you realize it’s late, and dark. Before you leave, text or call your roommate, or whomever you live with, and tell themwhich route you will be taking and what time you should be home. If you live alone, text a friend the same thing, but add that you will text them when you get home. Alerting someone about your whereabouts is like having your own emergency response team. That person will know your situation and will feel alarmed and respond if they don’t hear from you.
5. Be smart about your clothing choice. If you know that you will be out late and you might have to walk alone, do not wear clothing that will make it difficult for you to defend yourself. This mostly concerns footwear, like sandals, flip-flops, and heels. You don’t want to be limping from blisters when your safety is threatened.
6. Stay alert. While it is pleasant to listen to your iPod as you make you way home, it completely overtakes a sense that is essential to safety: your hearing. In an attack, you may hear the person before you see them. So be aware of your surroundings at all times, using all of your senses. If you look distracted, you become a larger target.
To protect yourself even more, think about taking a women’s self-defense class. Not only will it make you feel safer, it will empower you to be a stronger collegiette™. 

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