Young women, aged 18-24, attending college, are 3 times more likely to be sexually assaulted or raped than the general population.
According to RAINN, 23.1 percent of female students experience rape or sexual assault via physical force, violence, or being incapacitated.
That’s a little over one in 5 young women … and those are only the ones we know of. The real number is much higher.
This is why addressing women’s personal safety on campus is paramount.
It is imperative that we inform our daughters what they’re really up against — and how to better protect themselves.
Common sense tips such as “use the buddy system” and “don’t walk home alone at night” are valuable and have their place. However, those tips ignore the fact that, according to the University of Michigan, most sexual assaults are committed by someone we already know and trust, and most assaults happen in familiar surroundings. Hence, the term “Acquaintance Rape.”
Most young woman and their parents find this fact counterintuitive, but once they understand it, are able to put in place powerful strategies to not become another statistic.
Remember, the mind is the most powerful weapon.
When you change your “mental setting” from “prey” to “powerful” – that energy permeates though your body language, and shows up as confidence and strength.
Use your mind, body language, and strategy to develop “command presence” – this will broadcast to the world that you are not an easy target, which is the best deterrent against opportunistic, predatory fellow students and acquaintances, who are the most common offenders. (Think: entitled frat boys)
We know the buddy system is always recommended, but the larger the group, the better. Go out together, and come home together. Leave no one behind. At parties or events, agree to check in with each other at pre-determined times. Use the buddy system when going to the bathroom, or to retrieve a coat from a back room. Why? This how a lone young woman gets dragged into a room and assaulted.
What is your plan if you think you or a friend have been drugged? Do you have a pre-determined “distress code” to alert the other members of your group? Have you rehearsed the power of your numbers, and the strength of your loud voices together to create a scene that would deter anyone with bad intent?
Walking home at night will happen. But again, walk in a group. Carry yourselves with confident presence. Think “shoulders back, heads up” and scan your surroundings. Walk in well-lit areas and avoid darker shortcuts. These three precautions will make you “harder targets.”
Don’t be shy to ask TWO trusted young men within your peer group to walk with you – but don’t let your guard down.
There is no one magic bullet that will keep you or your young woman 100% safe on campus. But the more strategies you put in place, the safer you will all be.
Parents, you should all know what the Clery Act is, and why it is so critical in choosing a school that is entrusted with your daughter’s safety.
– Jennifer Kaminer, 9 February 2017