One out of every four female college students in the United States has been a victim of rape or attempted rape, according to vassar.edu.com.
Although Tyler Junior College has tools in their tool belt they use to keep female students safe, these students are also responsible to take precautions as well in order to not be one to add to the statistic. Here are five tips by Campus Police, East Texas Crisis Center and students that female TJC students can take to stay safe on campus or abroad.
1. Know how to defend oneself. More than just being physically prepared for an attack, a woman should have a mind-set that is trained for action when she is threatened. Brittany Taylor, Art major, says that she takes the Tae Kwon Do class that is offered at TJC to know how to defend herself in case of emergency. Randy Melton, director Campus Police adjunct professor and criminal justice, suggested that female students use whatever they have handy as a way to defend themselves, such as a set of car keys which are able to give enough impact to the predator so that the victim can escape.
2. Always be aware of surroundings. Many students get too caught up in a phone call or thinking about too many things to realize where they are and who is around them, especially at night. Although the campus has campus police, a lanyard policy and surveillance cameras, women have to be prepared for the unexpected.
“You need to pay attention,” said Officer Melton, “ I think that if you walk to your car, you should have your keys in your hand… and your cellphone pretty close by.”
3. Appear calm and confident and follow your gut feeling. When threatened, one of the main reactions is to look panicked and rushed and thus be seen as vulnerable.
“Stand very tall, walk very confidently, and just trust your instincts,” Melton said. It is better to be safe than sorry. Listening to that feeling deep inside saying something suspicious is happening can keep one from becoming a victim of an attack.
“If you see a group that looks like they wouldn’t be too respectable, you should not go around them,” said Alison Dosser RN Nursing major.
4. Be around people you can trust.
The saying is valid that safety is in numbers. The chance of being assaulted is less when one does not find themselves alone, especially in dimly lit, sketchy places.
“Know who you are with and know something about them before you just get into the car and says, ‘Hey, I’m going to the club,’ and you hop in with them,” said Peggy Scott, Campus Police corporal.
The importance of women having a good knowledge of who they are with is because 73% of sexual assaults are carried out by non-strangers, and 38 % of rapists are friends or acquaintances of the victim according to rain.org.
“Being kidnapped is a scary thing, I have been kidnapped before… you don’t ever forget it… If you are going to go out with friends make sure they are friends that you can trust,” said Dosser.
5. Be heard. Fear of misjudging a suspicious character or drawing attention are the main reasons why women will not make their voices heard when attacked or threatened.
“Your voice is a very powerful tool… ,” said Britney Hilbun sexual assault program coordinator for the East Texas Crisis Center, “…If all you got to do is yell and the dude runs away, then you know you have definitely saved yourself.”
If a woman feels threatened, she can call the 24/7 Campus Safety emergency number, 903-510-2222. Also, for those who are taking night classes, Campus Safety provides an escort for those who don’t want to walk to their car alone.
“If they are (female students) afraid for their safety, for some reason, like it could be ex-boyfriend hanging around, again, give us a call,” Melton said.
By Grace Malone