College campuses often create a false sense of security for the students who live there. Potentially thousands of students on campus make it nearly impossible for residents to control access to their dormitories or identify an intruder. Additionally, sprawling grounds, buildings and landscaping can provide hiding places for would-be predators.
RAINN urges students to take the following precautions on campus:
Know your resources. Who should you contact if you or a friend needs help? Where should you go? Locate resources such as the campus health center, campus police station, and a local sexual assault service provider. Notice where emergency phones are located on campus, and program the campus security number into your cell phone for easy access.
Stay alert. When you’re moving around on campus or in the surrounding neighborhood, be aware of your surroundings. Consider inviting a friend to join you or asking campus security for an escort. If you’re alone, only use headphones in one ear to stay aware of your surroundings.
Be careful about posting your location. Many social media sites, like Facebook and Foursquare, use geolocation to publicly share your location. Consider disabling this function and reviewing other social media settings.
Make others earn your trust. A college environment can foster a false sense of security. They may feel like fast friends, but give people time earn your trust before relying on them.
Think about Plan B. Spend some time thinking about back-up plans for potentially sticky situations. If your phone dies, do you have a few numbers memorized to get help? Do you have emergency cash in case you can’t use a credit card? Do you have the address to your dorm or college memorized? If you drive, is there a spare key hidden, gas in your car, and a set of jumper cables?
Be secure. Lock your door and windows when you’re asleep and when you leave the room. If people constantly prop open the main door to the dorm or apartment, tell security or a trusted authority figure.
Victims of College Campus Sexual Assault: Know Your Rights
Students have a right to feel safe and secure in their dormitories and on their college campuses. By law, colleges are required to protect all students and guests legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should college administration have knowledge of prior violence on or near property, they have a responsibility to implement additional security precautions to protect students and deter furture crime. Should they fail in this critical responsibility, they may be held civilly liable for any injuries, sexual assaults, or wrongful deaths which occur as a consequence.
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