Sadly, sexual assault on campuses happen every day. With college just a few months away, I wanted to send some reminders to the young women out there about staying safe at school. Having worked on campuses for 17 years, I know the reality of what can happen, so let me give you a few practical pieces of advice.
My best piece of advice is to find a great group of friends that you can trust. Friends, who will have your back, be there for you and always protect you. Build a community, a “sisterhood” and look out for each other every day. Find this sisterhood on your dorm floor, in your sorority, through your sports team or through your campus job. I don’t care where you find it, just do it! This is the best safety precaution you will have during your 4 years of college.
Also, here is a list of general precautions. These are recommended by schools, police and actual sexual assault victims. We all want you to enjoy college. We just want you to be safe too.
Post this list in your dorm room as a good daily reminder.
Don’t walk across campus alone in the dark. Take the path that is well lit. Forget about shortcuts in the dark.
Know where the emergency help boxes are on campus.
Don’t go to parties alone.
Don’t leave your friend (drunk or not) alone at a party, unless she is with good friends.
Keep the number of your local cab service programed in your phone or download Uber.
Don’t leave your drinks unattended at a bar or at a party.
Bad decisions are made late at night. I don’t care how cool or interesting some new guy is… do not go anywhere alone with him @ 2am.
If you have a male study partner, meet him at the library or at a cafe.
Always let at least one friend know where you are. Text with updates often, especially if you feel nervous.
Keep pepper spray in your purse and/or room. (It’s legal in all 50 states.)
Know where campus police is located and have their number programed into your phone.
Dont wait for a bus or train at a badly lit spot and make sure you know when the last one runs each night.
Find some great male allies on campus.
Download the application kitestring to your phone.
Lastly, trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is.