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.
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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