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Avoiding sexual assault while in college

UIC Campus by Paco Seoane

Whether you are a young woman heading to college for the first time or the last, the possibility of being sexually assaulted during your college career should be taken seriously.

The Chicago Tribune has run a series of articles about sexual assaults on campus that included a survey of 6 schools in Indiana and Illinois.

They found that police investigated 171 reported sex crimes since fall 2005, with 12 resulting in arrests and four in convictions.

UIC noted in a 2010 report to the federal government that “it has been very difficult to get sexual assault cases” prosecuted by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Many of these types of attacks can be prevented, but the major way to avoid sexual assault may not be a realistic for many students.

Why is that?

1. The number one way to avoid becoming a sexual assault victim involves not drinking alcoholic beverages, but how likely is it that students will abstain? 

Alcohol is involved in 90 percent of campus rapes, according to Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. A study on campus rape published in the Journal of American College Health found 73 percent of the assailants and 55 percent of rape victims used alcohol or other drugs prior to the assault.



A person who is under the influence may have a hard time understanding and accurately interpreting someone else’s behavior and actions. Research has found when men are under the influence of alcohol; they are likely to interpret a variety of verbal and nonverbal cues as evidence that a woman is interested in having sex with him. These assumptions can be dangerous. Additionally, it’s hard to be assertive when you are drunk.

If you are going to go to the parties and drink what else can you do to reduce the possibility of assault?

2. It is extremely important to have a good group of friends.

The kind of friends we are talking about will not leave you at a party, especially if you appear to be impaired due to drinking too much.  You and your friends should agree to go to the party together, stay together and leave together.

A recent college graduate explained that in her four years at college neither she nor any of her friends experienced a sexual assault.  She believed it was because of the close relationship they had with one another and how they looked out for one another.  This group of friends included several males.  These weren’t necessarily boys that her girlfriends were dating, but just guy friends, who helped look out for them.

3. Never leave your drink unattended.

Deciding not to drink alcohol at a party isn’t going to keep you safe if you don’t watch your non-alcoholic drink.  Date-rape-drugs are being used on campus and many are odorless, colorless and tasteless.  They can be slipped into any drink including water.

College can be a great experience if you remember that awareness is the key to your safety.  Alcohol is going to affect your awareness.  If you are going to drink then have a friend with you who isn’t drinking. 

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Ed Kress
For over 35 years Ed Kress has been an instructor and student at the Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts, named "Best Overall Martial Arts School” worldwide by Black Belt Magazine. Master Fred Degerberg awarded Ed his 7th degree Black Belt in 2015. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, Ed learned early in life to pay attention to his surroundings in order to avoid potentially dangerous people and situations. Along with local law enforcement officers and directors of campus security, Ed has developed a program which focuses on teaching personal safety on the streets, and as it relates to the high school and college experience. Ed has trained thousands of adult men and women as well as high school and college students to improve their personal and situational awareness and, when necessary, how to physically defend themselves using their brains as well as their bodies. Ed began his martial arts career when he started wrestling in 8th grade, taking 1st place in the Chicago Park District City Championships. He later wrestled varsity at Mendel Catholic High School where he was a Chicago Catholic League Conference Champion. During his college career at North Park University he was a Conference Champion and 2-time NCAA Div 3 national qualifier. He was on his way to qualifying for the 3rd time when a neck injury ended his college career. His record that year was 17 - 0. He continues to wrestle as Head Freshman Wrestling Coach at Loyola Academy. A position he has held since 2004.
http://www.actinselfdefense.com

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