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HC Awareness: Walking Home Alone

We all do it…stumble home alone, thinking, “Oh, my house is just around the block. I’ll be fine.” How many times do we hear this statement? “I’ll be fine.”

We hear these three small words countless times a week, I know because I say them all the time. From when I’m ready to leave a party and no else is ready, to when I’m walking home from the library on a Wednesday night, I always think I will be fine. The scary thing is, though, we aren’t always fine.

Just recently at the University of Iowa, a freshman girl was walking to her dorm room from class at 9pm on a Thursday when she was assaulted. This was on campus and she was sober. That particular night, when I was at a concert, and my friend was at the library, and my other friend was at a bar, this girl’s life was changed.

We never think it will happen to us…until it does.

Sixty-two percent of sexual assaults are “drug-facilitated,” meaning that there are either drugs or alcohol involved. This makes it more difficult to talk yourself out of a situation.
Whether we like it or not, there are people who lurk in the most obvious of public places to the dark corners of an alleyway. We know this as competent young women, and yet we still decide to take matters into our hands and walk home alone. Why?

“It’s scary to walk home alone at night, but I still do it. I know it’s dumb but either I don’t want to be annoying and ask a guy to walk me back or I don’t want to pay for a cab. Sometimes you’re in a situation where you just have to,” UIowa sophomore Lauren Jevaney states.

Although it may be inconvenient, the best thing to do is to weigh your options. There are alternatives to walking alone and there are precautions you can take if you do.

1. Call a cab: There is always a cab company who charges cheap. Talk to girls around campus and see which ones they use. Chances are two dollars will get you where you need to go. Your safety is more important than being frugal.

2. Ask someone to walk home with you, the buddy system is always better than doing it on your own.

3. Night Ride: A safe ride for girls to get home! And, the perk is that it is free! Call them up anytime after 10pm and they will take you from campus straight to your house. Perfect for those late nights at the library or downtown Iowa City. Put this number in your phone right away: 1-319-384-1111

4. Call a friend with a car to pick you up: Never cross this option off the list. Friends always know friends with cars! There is no harm in trying to be safe, so do as much as possible to avoid gallivanting on the streets at night alone.

Still, even with alternative ways, girls will still take matters into their own hands and be independent.

“I don’t like staying at places I don’t feel comfortable, so there are times when I need to walk alone. When I walk home, I call my roommate or mom and talk to them. I keep reminding them where I am just in case something happens,” states UIowa sophomore Lindsay Sarich.

But, here’s the deal, if you are going to walk alone, be smart. Use these precautions and always be aware of your surroundings, even when you think you are in the safe zone.  

If You still Must Walk Home Alone

1. No headphones: Make sure you can hear your surroundings and are aware of what’s around you.

2. Cell phone: Do not be texting. If you are on the phone, make sure you are talking about where you are, not what you wore last night.

3. Pepper spray and a whistle: It sounds extreme, but taking that extra step, just in case, could save your life. Make sure you have it in your hand and not your backpack. (Amazon.com sells cute, pink, and cheap ones)  

4. Self-defense: Sign up for a self-defense class. In worst-case scenario, you would know what to do if you are ever cornered.

5. Choose a well-lit path home: Don’t take a short-cut if it is an alley way or unlit park. Take the extra five minutes and walk where it is well-lit or where there are people around.

Visit http://powertochange.com/life/personalsafetytips/ for more tips!!

“I do take night ride a bunch or I call someone for a ride,” states UIowa sophomore Lindsay Sarich. “The best advice I would give is to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it.” Your intuition can be your best defense.
*photo- Flickr-Bernat


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