Today’s blog is sponsored by SABRE, the #1 pepper spray brand trusted by police and consumers worldwide. SABRE’s line of campus safety products and College Safety Program are just two ways the brand shows its commitment to student safety.
College should be the best time of every student’s life. However, 1 in 5 women become victims of sexual assault during these formative adult years. Victims are never responsible for any form of assault or violence – and, fortunately, there are ways you can reduce your risk and avoid emotional trauma.
1. Use the buddy system.
A walking companion – especially important in the dark or in unsafe areas – helps give potential attackers the impression that you’re a hard target. Attackers are looking for the path of least resistance, so a built-in witness is something they tend to want to avoid. As Karen J. Terry, PhD and criminal justice professor explains, “the person at greatest risk to become a victim is someone who is alone late at night and also under the influence of drugs or alcohol.” Which leads us to our next tip…
2. When drinking, know your limits.
Once you’re of legal drinking age, if you choose to drink make sure you do so responsibly. Intoxicated people have a delayed reaction time, which criminals take as a good sign it would be easier for them to get away with assault. So, take it slow. Consume no more than one drink per hour, and alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Being alert signals to would-be attackers that you’re ready to defend yourself if need be.
3. Stick to well-lit areas.
Light is an incredibly valuable crime deterrent. In fact, murder and rape decrease by 43% and 56%, respectively, in that extra hour of sun you get each night during daylight savings time, as recently reported by Stanford University.
Pro tip: A personal alarm with build-in LED light can help you attract witnesses in the dark.
4. Walk with confidence.
Portraying self-worth while out and about encourages attackers to believe you’d be more likely to fight back. So, walk with your shoulders back and head up, with your eyes scanning the area.
5. Carry a personal safety tool.
There are various non-lethal options for personal safety, but our favorite for campus safety is pepper gel. Gel emits no airborne particles, so it only affects that which it directly contacts. This greater containment makes gel ideal for both indoor and outdoor use, as it won’t affect others in the immediate area and has virtually eliminated wind blow-back.
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Support for Victims and Survivors
If you are assaulted during college or any other time, remember that it’s not your fault, and you’re not alone. For support, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline – run by our partner, RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – at 1-800-656-HOPE.
Support the nation’s largest anti-sexual assault nonprofit while protecting yourself by purchasing SABRE’s RAINN Key Case Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring or RAINN Personal Alarm with Key Ring.