September Awareness: National Campus Safety Month


Photo courtesy of Calvin College.

Ashley Masse, Contributor

September is National Campus Safety Awareness Month,  a month dedicated to ending violence and sexual assault on and around college grounds.

According to the survivor activist organization, Know Your IX, approximately 19% of women and 5-6% of men will be sexually assaulted during the duration of the college school year. In addition to this, 43% of women dating in college become the victim of violent and abusive crimes ranging from physical and sexual abuse to other forms of general abuse. As students return to their college lives, some quick tips and user friendly apps can be a powerful tool against these horrific crimes.

Many colleges offer crime prevention resources, where information on how to keep safe can be found. According to the Boise State University and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), these are some quick tips on general safety:

  1. Stay with a friend throughout all late-night activities and be aware of your surroundings. Well-lit and designated pathways offer more protection while traveling to and from buildings at night. Also, be weary of posting your location on social media; this feature can be disabled in the settings of most apps.
  2. Don’t put yourself at risk by using alcohol or drugs to the point where smart decisions and consent may not be possible. Be aware of and avoid situations where your safety is in the hands of others who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  3. Never leave your drink unattended at gatherings and throw it out if you are unsure whether or not it has been tampered with. Unopened beverages or those that you have seen being made are the only drinks you should trust.
  4. Know your local resources, such as friends, sexual assault service providers, and campus police stations and health centers. Take notice of emergency phones on campus and keep the campus security number in your contacts.

Keeping this advice in mind when planning evening activities is a good way to avoid potential dangers.

There are also many personal safety apps available that can help keep you safe. One such app is SafeTrek-Hold Until Safe, which requires you to hold down a button when you feel unsafe in any situation and be monitored by a 24/7 Safety Assistant. In the case that you release the button and do not enter an assigned four digit pin, an alert is sent to the police containing your location. This and other apps have become increasingly popular among college students and have received numerous positive reviews.

As students return to school this September, being aware of how to stay safe on campus is crucial. Spreading word of these simple measures and helpful tools will decrease the prevalence of violence and sexual assault and eventually end the horrible crimes from which so many people suffer each year.