Safety Tips for College Women

 

 

It is very unfortunate the recent events that have happened on our campus, resulting in lost trust in the safety originally ensured on our campus. On February 3rd, a girl was physically assaulted on Langdon Street. Even further, another woman who lived close to campus was sexually assaulted by her Lyft driver. Just two instances in a series of violent attacks on women in Madison in recent years. I know personally that since these serious recent events, I walk down the streets at night with tight body posture, clutching my phone with numbers to call in case of an emergency. Things like this in our community shouldn’t have to happen, but because they do, here are some reminders on how to stay safe on our campus!

 

How to Use Your Phone as a Safety Device

 

1. SafeWalk

You heard about SafeWalk during your UW-Madison orientation, but I think there is no better time to appreciate the value of this program than now. I personally have used SafeWalk a number of times, especially as an out of state freshman who didn’t have many friends or resources when I first started school. This is such a wonderful resource when you need to walk home but don’t want to be alone. Once you call them, two safety guides from the program will meet with you wherever you are and walk with you to wherever you need to go. This program can be a bit tedious and long, but it is well worth the wait — as well as well worth being safe.

SafeWalk: (608)-262-5000

 

2. Noonlight

Another great resource to have on your phone is this app called Noonlight. Basically, this is an app that you can use when you are driving in an uber or around your neighborhood, and you feel that you are unsafe. You can keep your hand on the button for as long as you want. If you release it, the app will alert the nearby police that you are unsafe and they will track your location on your phone. I know that we don’t want to think of the worst possible scenario, but sometimes it’s nice to have this option in the rare case that something like this could happen.

 

3. Accessible Emergency Numbers

One thing that helps me feel secure on campus is having a note saved on my phone with all of these numbers that are meant to keep me safe. I remember at SOAR, our leaders made us put their numbers in our phones as a resource, so maybe go back to that list and add a couple more for safety as a go-to safety checklist for yourself.

 

Campus and City Resources

 

4. Blue Lights

On our campus, in darker and more hidden places there are things called Blue Lights. You might have seen them if you are walking down Lakeshore Path or if you’re on East Campus Mall. These Blue Lights are used as an emergency system and will alert campus police immediately if set off. Recently, there has been a petition to put one or more on Langdon Street in light of recent events. This petition has well over 500 signatures and is on its way to getting the attention of campus police.

 

5. Sex Resources

Not only do we need safe resources on our way home, but safe resources in our relationships and sexual encounters. SexOutLoud and PAVE are great resources on campus that provide safe sex resources and tools as well as counseling and talks about appropriate and inappropriate behavior in relationships. In addition to that, there are several other organizations on campus that care about your sexual safety and wellbeing, such as the Campus Women’s Center, SARJ, and UHS.

 

6. Self-Defense Classes

Here’s a fun way to exercise your body as well as training your mind on how to defend yourself in case of an emergency. This way you can be prepared and aware of your surroundings. Maybe take this class with a group of friends, and you can turn this into a bonding activity while also taking care of yourself.

 

Some self-defense classes to check out in Madison are: Chimera Self DefenseMadison Martial Arts Cooperative - Streetwise Action for Female Empowerment, Fight Prime Training Center - Krav Maga Madison

 

Important Safety Reminders

 

7. Walk in Pairs and Groups

One thing that I cannot stress enough as one of the more safe options on a large campus is to walk in pairs and in groups. I know that this can be hard because everyone has different schedules and things that they need to do or places they need to be, but if you’re in a situation where you can walk in a group, please take that opportunity and offer to walk with others as well! Your safety should be a top priority, even over that paper you have due.

 

8. Watch Your Belongings

Say you have to go to the bathroom for a quick second at the library but don’t want the hassle of taking everything with you and losing your seat — we’ve all been there. Here’s a great solution that I’ve observed: ask a table near you who also seem to be studying to watch your stuff, whether it be your laptop, backpack or notebooks. Bring with you your phone and wallet. This way at least you’re in control of some more important items, and your other stuff is watched over by another group of students. While it seems odd to trust your belongings with random people, I just remind myself that they’re studying too, and would probably want you to do the same for them.

 

9. Plan Ahead

Map out your schedule for where you’re going and for how long you’ll be there. Deviating from your plan to go from one place to another can really stress you out as well as put you in a situation that you aren’t as mentally equipped for. Having that plan could ultimately put you in the right mindset for any situation headed your way.

 

10. Be Aware

My final reminder that I’m sure you’ve all been told a million times, and I’m going to tell you once more — simply be aware. If none of these safety measures registered with you, and you feel like you’re fine and can tackle the world on your own, power to you, but simply please just be aware. Be aware of where you are, be aware of how long you’re gone, be aware of the people around you if they need help or could be dangerous. Just be aware. I know this can be especially hard when we don’t want to judge the people around us; you might think you’re not reading the situation right or it’s not your business. But trust your instinct with things that feel odd to you. It could help you and potentially others around you. For example, if you’re at a party, and you see someone trying to progressively make moves on someone who’s incapacitated or severely incoherent, try to alert someone else or interfere if you feel something is out of place because there’s probably a reason you feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

 

While it’s crazy that we have to be this cautious about a campus that we should feel completely safe at, you never know what could happen to or around you. Unfortunately, incidents like this happen constantly, but now I hope that you can take this list of tools and utilize them to your best benefit and for your optimal safety! Try to take in some of these safety measures and just please be safe!