Last month, Tyler Junior College sent out a text and facebook alert on a possible sexual assault on campus. Though the assault was later determined untrue, for several days, many studentsworried about their safety.

“It scared me, just because it’s my biggest fear of being raped,” said Hannah McKeown, TJC sophomore and elementary education major.

According to a 2011 survey on thehathorlegacy.com, an American woman has a one-in-four chance of being raped in her lifetime and an American man has a one-in-10 chance. 

Students can prevent themselves from getting into sticky situations by taking precautions.

“Avoid walking alone at night,” Randy Melton, director of Campus Police, said.

Walk with someone because there is always safety in numbers. Set up a buddy system and set that system up before ever going somewhere.

Stick to well lighted and well traveled streets. Avoid parking in isolated areas. When walking to the car have the vehicle’s key in hand to insert into the lock.

“Always be aware of your surroundings,” Peggy Scott, Campus Safety Corporal/field training officer, said.

Watch for suspicious people or activities. Don’t be an easy target. Walk with confidence and purpose. Be observant and don’t text while walking.

If a student is ever in a situation where they don’t feel safe, campus police urge students to know where they are and not to hesitate to call them so they can escort a student to their car or dorm. Statistics on rainn.org show that 2/3 of rapes were committed by someone known by the victim.

If a student is raped, immediately seek medical attention. Most state laws require that the person be evaluated in an emergency room where staff is trained to know how to approach and support a victim of sexual assault.

According to nlm.nih.gov, if a woman who is raped might be pregnant, health-care providers will discuss methods of emergency contraception. The person who was raped may also need to be checked and treated for sexually transmitted diseases.

If ever a student has been raped or just needs to talk, TJC provides counseling.

“If there is anything going on, if anything happens, and they want to talk about it. You know, just don’t feel right about something. They’re not sure whether to press charges or what to do. They can come and visit with me,” said Tracey Williams, counselor, learning specialist and support services at TJC. “And the main thing is just having some support after something like that happens. And I’m here for the TJC students and I’ll refer them to the right services in the community.”

Williams’ services as a counselor are free.

“Any student that has stuff going on that needs to come and talk about it, whether it’s this or something else, they can contact me and schedule an appointment,” Williams said.

Students can contact Tracey Williams on her office phone (903)-510-2041 and Campus Police at 903-510-2222 (emergency) or 903-510-2258 (non-emergency).

Ashleigh Brents
Staff Writer

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