This has been a very interesting year in our country so far. Many of the incidents that have occurred in the past couple of months have caused much anxiety. There have been racial tensions, possible terrorism in Las Vegas, and a ton of sexual harassment or rape cases finally appearing after being swept under the rug for so long.
Concerning the issue of sexual harassment, it is something that unfortunately runs rampant on international college campuses. There are many college females that fall victim to harassment and rape, whether they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if they are amongst familiar people and under a false sense of security.
As collegiate women, we must stick together and watch out for one another amid times of trouble. We are lucky there is no Harvey Weinstein on our campus, but that does not mean that predators are only wealthy and elite Hollywood producers. There are certain situations that you can prepare for ahead of time to ensure that you and your friends are safe. Nevertheless, there may be frequent times during random occasions where warning signals will go off in your mind. There are a couple of things to do in these circumstances:
1. Leave. Get up, make an excuse, and get out of a situation where you are uncomfortable or feel in danger. Whether at a party or one-on-one with someone.
2. Let your friends or family know where you are going to be if you are hanging out with or going on a date with someone or some people whom are somewhat unfamiliar.
3. If you are at a raging party, designate someone who will not be drinking. If you are this person, watch out for your friends, especially if they are not in a state of mind where they can give consent.
4. Get help from someone on campus with legitimate authority if you feel as if you are being harassed continually. There is an abundance of resources that are available on campus (see bottom of article for links).
5. Try to be friends on social media sites with people that you have met and know. If you “friend” people that are total strangers, you are giving them access to your personal information and photos. They may even be able to locate you without your knowledge. So be cautious.
6. Never blame yourself. If you are assaulted or harassed and were not able to give consent, that still does not give other people the right to take advantage of you. Find comfort in family or friends if possible, but if you do not want to discuss what has happened to you, that is totally ok as well. Wait until you feel comfortable to process what has happened, and know that you do not have to go through whatever has happened alone (but alert authorities if there is a threat to the greater-campus area as a whole).
Sexual harassment/ assault are sore subjects. But, as women, we must plan and prepare to make sure that we are safe. Even though we cannot always account for what is to come, we should have knowledge of our resources and know who we can can and cannot trust.
Here are a few campus resources to check out if any of this pertains to you: