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Staying Safe on Campus
Being away from home for 9 months with a roommate and a building full of strangers, there is bound to be incidences. Teenagers are perceived by society as rebellious and adventurous, doing things for an adrenaline high. What better way than to commit a crime without being caught? Underage drinking is very popular among teenagers because it is illegal. They like pushing the limits, but this shows poor judgment on their part.
Now, not all teenagers are this way, but on a campus of over 5,000 teenagers and students from all over the state and country, there are bound to be problems with the law.
This article will explore the two most committed crimes that happen on campus and how to be safe.
Rape is a very popular crime on college campuses. It is a place of raging hormones and opportunity. According to Joseph Shapiro, the author of "Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle for Justice," 1 out of 5 female students will be raped. This statistic was supported by Crisis Connection's article "College Campuses and Rape."
What is rape?
According to Dictionary.com: "the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse."
"College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of the freshman and sophomore years" Crisis Connections list. This is because of how young the girls are. Older guys on campus use this to their advantage in wooing girls and inviting them to parties.
Parties are the most dangerous place for a young female to be alone. Open drinks are passed around freely. It is a place full of hormones, irresponsibility, and total lust. While some are there to have a great time, these people become prey to the predators.
Dormitories are the second most dangerous place. Guys and girls can be mixed in the same building, even the same hallway. A guy can walk down the hallway without a second glance testing doors to see which female's room is unlocked. If he walks in on two girls watching television, he could make up an excuse and walk away unharmed finally finding his victim a girl taking a nap alone in her room.
This is why it is very important to take precautions while being on campus.
Rape usually occurs with the presence of alcohol. "Men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner. 40% of men who thinks this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman." (Crisis Connection)
Situations with alcohol lead to poor decisions. So it is safe to say that this statement is accurate: "90% of all campus rapes occur under the influence of alcohol."
This statistic is not saying that the alcohol is making the decisions for the attacker, but under situations without alcohol, the attacker would be more wary.
If this happens to you, how can you still make a difference?
Many women do not report rape or describe the situation as rape. They are either too frightened or ashamed to admit about what happened. By not speaking up, you are letting a person who committed a crime walk free and another situation to happen again to another victim or to yourself again.
When living in a dormitory, you are living with another person. All your articles are in the open. Your key as a twin given to your roommate. Because you are sharing a room, your roommate can let their friends in. These friends or even your roommate are able to get to your things if you allow them.
Allowing someone to take your things does not mean you giving verbal consensus, although in some situations to have your roommate like you, you agree that you can share things in the room. Leaving your things in the open, like lets say you leave your laptop on your bed, this allows a situation for your laptop to be stolen.
Just like other crimes, burglars and attackers are dissuades by obstacles. Is the prize worth the trouble? For a laptop, it most likely would be, but with it sitting out in the open unsupervised it would be easy to take.
Let's say you are at the airport, would you leave your purse on the chair in front of your gate while you grabbed a drink? After all the machine is only across the room, so you can keep your eye on your purse, except when you are inserting the bill and kneeling to get your drink.
The same situation happens here. While your door is locked or can be locked, while there is a twin key floating around, your stuff is not as safe.
With most desks, in dorms, there are certain drawers that have an option for a lock to be placed in it, like with a locker in high school. This is where I would store money, important papers, your laptop, expensive jewelry, basically anything worth a value.
Why not a safe? Safes in college are handy, but take up a lot of room in cars. They are extremely heavy. If they are not heavy, easy to walk off with. If your room does not have an option to lock, not hide, lock things away than a safe or similar protection device should be used.
They also have laptop locks. It is like a bike lock. The lock attached to your laptop and connects it to the desk. These come in handy for when you are in a hurry.
How the Campus Protects You
The first priority for a college is not academics or sports. It is safety. They want the students to feel safe on campus. This is why colleges have their own police department on call for the students instead of relying on city or town police.
Campus Police: The campus police are not there to place parking tickets or to bust underage drinking or drug busts. Okay, maybe they are, but it is not to get you in trouble. This is to keep you safe. They are real police officers. They were trained and get paid to keep you safe. They respond to calls in seconds instead of minutes.
Safety Mechanisms: Colleges are using cameras, lights, and panic buttons for students to use in case of an emergency. While panic buttons are mostly pushed in a ding dong ditch style, police still respond with a serious attitude. Do not ding dong ditch the police.
Safety Walks: On my campus, we have safety walks. This is when a bunch of students along with a campus representative walks the campus pointing out possible hazards on campus. "Why is there not a panic button here? A girl last week was jumped here." "This is too dark to walk at night." "The sidewalk here needs to be paved. I almost tripped." If your campus does not have this, get together a bunch of students and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
You can make a difference on campus and make it a safer place to live! Voice your concerns and opinions. Change happens with a whisper, but a difference happens with a shout.
Tips to Keep You Safer on Campus
- When alone in your room or sleeping, lock the door. This creates an obstacle that most predators will not try to push through. To them, there are more "fish" in the "sea."
- When walking alone on campus, carry your charged cell phone. This will help if needing to call someone.
- When walking alone on campus, stay in normally very active places like the quad or under lights. This lets you be seen in case someone tries to harm you. Usually, there are cars going around campus as well as patrol cars.
- When you go to parties, pour your own drink from an UNOPENED can or bottle. This ensures that it has not been tampered with.
- Keep your drink in hand at all time. Carry your cup from the top. This creates anything being slipped in. If you lose your drink, just get another.
- Learn of the safety options on campus. On my campus we have emergency buttons in hot spots for crime. Once the button is clicked, the police arrive in seconds even for false alarms. The one time they do not respond, it might not be false.
- Only go out at night if you truly need to. If you are try to go with a friend, preferably a trusted male.
- Anyone is a victim. Male or female, this is a good things to keep in mind.
- Pepper spray, self defense classes, etc. These will come in handy if ever attacked. Also, flashlights key chain or on phone are ideal for walking back from the car.
- Campus Rape Victims: A Struggle For Justice : NPR
Despite federal laws created to hold colleges accountable, schools almost never expel men found responsible for rape. Victims who do report the crime are left with few options, and have been unable to count on help from the government's oversight age
- College Campuses and Rape