It’s no secret that this world can be a scary place for a woman. With nearly 1 in 5 women reporting that they have been raped, it can be tempting to just deadbolt the door and never leave your dorm room. But fear is not the answer! Knowledge, preparation and some common sense can empower you to live your life fully and courageously. Whether you are walking across campus or heading out for a run, you can kick fear to the curb by following these campus safety tips:
Check out your school’s Campus Safety office
You may have tuned out during this part of orientation, but your school has a Campus Safety office and part of your tuition pays for it! Take a few minutes to check yours out and ask about any resources they may provide, like safety maps, emergency phone stations, and campus escort services.
Avoid the dark
Whenever possible, plan your activities for during daylight hours. According to SABRE,
Researchers have discovered a strong correlation between light, or lack thereof, and crime rates. Stanford University recently found that murder and rape decreased by 43% and 56%, respectively, in that extra hour of sun you get each night during Daylight Savings Time.
Unfortunately the sun doesn’t always want to cooperate with your busy schedule! If you have to walk across campus or go for your run at night, always stick to well-lit paths in relatively busy, populated areas.
Use the buddy system
There’s safety in numbers; it’s a cliché because it’s true! Whenever you can, arrange to walk home with a friend or call up a buddy to go running with you. If that isn’t possible, use your walk home as an opportunity to catch up on your phone calls. Call your mom or your best friend, let them know where you’re walking, and chat with them until you’ve safely reached your destination.
Download a personal safety app
Stuck in a sketchy situation? Download a personal safety app like SafeTrek.
The way SafeTrek works is simple – If you are feeling unsafe, simply launch the app and hold your thumb down on the safe button. When you are safe, release your thumb and type in your 4 digit pin number. If the situation turns for the worse and you need help, simply release your thumb and do not type in your pin – your local police will be notified of your location, name, and emergency.
Turn your earbuds down
Or better yet, don’t wear them! Loud music might make your run more enjoyable, but you’re completely cutting off one of your senses making it much harder to notice potential threat. Stay aware and in control by leaving the earbuds at home or, if you must, using only one earbud at a low volume.
Think before you post on social media
Social media is awesome for staying connected with friends and family, but consider who else might be looking at your profile. Avoid geotagging your photos, posting your class schedule, or announcing that you are about to leave the house. Feel free to post that selfie you just took with your friends at the mall, but wait until you’ve moved on to a different location to post it.
Carry safety and self-defense tools with you
Living in fear is no way to live, so empower yourself by making sure you are well prepared for any potentially dangerous situation. Carry a few easily accessible safety and self-defense tools with you and walk (or run) with confidence!