“More than a weight gain during the first year of college, The Other Freshman 15 is a term reminding us that sexual assault can be more frequent during the first 15 weeks of school. ONE out of FIVE students experience rape or sexual assault while they are in college, and in the great majority of cases (75-80%), the victim knows the attacker.”
Campus Safety Magazine confirms that statistic: Between 20% and 25% of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career.
These statistics are incredibly sad. We believe that every person is beautiful and should be honored as the unique individual he/she is. It is never right for someone to use or abuse another person for their own satisfaction. If you have ever been the victim of an assault, we want to listen and help you. We also want to do everything we can to help you stay safe.
At least 50% of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use. In fact, 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol! Knowing that, here are some things to keep in mind:
When you go to a social gathering, go with a group of friends.
Arrive together, check in with each other throughout the evening, and leave together. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation. You might even choose a code word to use if you start to feel uncomfortable in any situation. If anyone in your group uses the code word, do everything you can to get out of the situation.
Trust your instincts.
If you feel unsafe in any situation, go with your gut. If you see something suspicious, contact law enforcement immediately (local authorities can be reached by calling 911 in most areas of the U.S.).
Don’t leave your drink unattended
while talking, dancing, using the restroom, or making a phone call. If you’ve left your drink alone, just get a new one.
Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust.
If you choose to accept a drink, go with the person to the bar to order it, watch it being poured, and carry it yourself. At parties, don’t drink from the punch bowls or other large, common open containers.
Watch out for your friends, and vice versa.
If a friend seems out of it, is way too intoxicated for the amount of alcohol they’ve had, or is acting out of character, get him or her to a safe place immediately. Stay with your group, and avoid isolated areas. Watch your friends’ backs, too, to be sure that they’re in places where they can be heard and seen.
If you need help
If something has happened and you don’t know who to talk to, we are always ready to listen and to help you get the help you need. If something has happened on- or off-campus, call the police. They have trained professionals and confidential settings where you can report what happened. Advocates Building Peaceful Communities is another local agency that has resources for you.
One last word to guys
We are counting on you to be men of honor–men who respect the women around them as valuable individuals whose stories matter. We’re counting on you not to speak down to, berate, or abuse women. We are counting on you to help us build a community where every life is valued and every woman is safe. Speak up if you see something unsafe happening! Be aware that drinking can affect your own judgment: in 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated. Go to parties with a group of friends who will help you make sure that nothing happens that you would regret. And if she says “no”? That means “no.” Don’t go any further.
Every person deserves to be treated with respect. Let’s keep our community a safe place…
What do you think? Do these statistics surprise you? Do you have other ideas about staying safe? What would you add to the conversation?