How to Avoid Being Sexually Assaulted on Campus

Don't be one of the 2 million women assaulted yearly on college campuses

Editor’s note: An estimated 2,400,000 women are assaulted on college campuses every year. We asked safety expert David Nance, founder and CEO of SABRE Personal Safety Academy (PSA) and the SABRE College Safety Program (CSP), to share campus safety tips with us.

When you decide to go back to school to continue your education or finish a degree, your focus is often on juggling challenging academic classes while managing a busy schedule outside the classroom. Don’t overlook the one thing that can be crucial in terms of maximizing your experience while back on campus—personal safety.

The 2014 Presidential Task Force estimates more than 10,000 students will experience aggravated assault and robbery every year, and 20% of the 12 million women expected to attend college will become victims of sexual assault.

This year, when heading back to continue your education, it is essential to remember a few key tips that can make all the difference.

01
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Beware of the Red Zone

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Rafael Elias - Moment - Getty Images 144552888
Law enforcement calls September and October, the first two months of school, the Red Zone, for good reason. The highest number of injuries, accidents, and deaths are reported in these two months, more than during any other time of the year. During these crucial first two months of school, it is essential for you to be extra cautious as you take night classes and learn the campus layout. Remaining mindful of the potential danger, especially in those first two months, can go a long way toward a student’s peace of mind during the start of a college semester.
02
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Carry Pepper Gel in Your Hand When Walking Alone

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David Nance - SABRE Pepper Gel

Carry pepper gel in your hand when you are alone on campus. One example is SABRE’s Campus Safety Pepper Gel, made with college students in mind. With a 10-foot range, the pepper gel is an ideal way to keep a safe distance and temporarily disable a potential assailant. The concentrated formula is a perfect safety tool for those who may rely on walking alone on a college campus. Better yet, SABRE pepper gel has no effect on bystanders and is safe to use indoors. This makes it ideal if needed for use in a lecture hall, at an athletic event, or even at a party.

03
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Use the Buddy System

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XiXinXing - Getty Images 169281272

Never underestimate the importance of having a friend with you while walking at night or at a party. Traveling in packs makes it harder for a potential assailant to approach, and makes you look less vulnerable. While out alone at a night class or group meeting, make sure a friend or roommate knows where you are and when you are to be expected home. This way, someone is always aware of your schedule and can be well informed if something is wrong.

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Put Technology Away and Be Aware of Your Surroundings

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Justin Horrocks - E Plus - Getty Images 182774638

While often considered a safety precaution by many students, talking or texting on a smartphone can actually send a signal that you are not paying attention or staying aware of your surroundings. You will look more confident and respond more quickly in case of an incident by putting away technology in vulnerable situations, such as walking home from study group at night. Also, the less preoccupied you are, the easier it will be to respond in case of any emergency.

05
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Take a College Safety Course

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YinYang - E Plus - Getty Images 171359768

Learning defense techniques and various ways to ward off an attacker can help you feel prepared and in control while walking around your campus. One example is the SABRE college safety program, which is available on campuses nationwide.

For more information about the SABRE college safety program, email mmckay@sabrered.com.