Tips for Personal Safety

Protecting Yourself from an Assault

Although we cannot guarantee that you will never be a victim of assault or rape, there are several steps you can take to minimize your chances of being a victim.

The following are suggestions for you to incorporate into your daily living routine:

On the Street

Do not walk alone.

Be aware of your surroundings at all times. 

Know where you are and where you are going.

If you walk alone, vary your route.  Do not be predictable. 

Walk away from bushes, alleys, and dark entryways.  Stay in well lit areas.

Do not be surprised.  Attackers rely on the element of surprise.  Do not wear headphones while walking alone.

Trust your instincts. 

If you think you are being followed, walk towards a busy, well lit area. 

Scream loudly to attract attention, and then tell someone to call the police because you are being followed.

If someone bothers you from a car, turn and walk in the opposite direction. 

If possible and safe, try and get the license plate number. 

Then when you are in a safe place, notify the Police Department.

When you are walking, keep one hand free.  Keep your purse close to your body. 

If you are carrying books or packages, be prepared to drop them.  Nothing you are carrying is worth your life.  Drop the items and run.

Jogging on the Streets

If at all possible, jog with a friend or group of people.

Avoid running later in the evening away from campus.

Eldon Lyon Park offers a 1.5 mile track behind the campus, do not jog alone or after dark.

In Your Car

Have your keys in your hand as you approach your car.  Always look inside your car to the back seat and the floor before you get in. Keep your car doors locked and windows up when you drive. Do not let the gas run empty.  You do not want to have to stop for gas in places where you would not want to walk.

Be Prepared for Emergencies

Carry a flashlight and flares or reflectors and an emergency manual in the car. Know how to change a tire.  Make certain the spare time is in good working condition and the proper jack and all of its parts are in the car. If your car breaks down at night, put on your emergency flashers and place a flare about 20 feet behind your car (if you have one).  Remain in your car with the doors locked and the windows closed until Police arrive. If another motorists stops to assist you, roll the window down a crack and ask him/her to call the Police or a towing service for you (if you do not have a cell phone).

Rape Fact vs. Fiction

There are many misconceptions about sexual assault.  People in every segment of society have developed their own "ideas" about rape and rape victims.  The "blame it on the victim" attitude makes it difficulty for the victim to seek help and to begin the recovery process. 

Fiction:  Rape will not happen to me or someone I know

Fact:  One in every six women will be a victim of sexual assault.  Men, women, children, elderly, young people, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, and every religion have been victims.  Rape is the most unreported crime in the U.S.  There is a rape every five minutes.

Fiction:  Rape does not happen at schools like ours

Fact:  A rape can occur at any school.  The potential is everywhere.  The threat can come from people on or off campus.

Fiction:  The rapist is almost always a stranger to the victim

Fact:  Most women are raped by someone they know - a date, an acquaintance, a neighbor, a relative.  These rapes generally go unreported.  In fact, almost half of these rapes never get reported.  Any woman forced into having sex against her wishes has been victimized by rape.  If the rape occurs with a friend or relative, the victim often feels partially responsible for the act, is unwilling to confess to others and is discouraged from seeking professional help.

Fiction:  Men rape because the want sex.  They are usually frustrated because the have limited opportunities for sex.  Many are maniacs or psychopaths.

Fact:  The motivation for rape is the need to have power and to control the victim.  Forcing women to have sex against their will is an act of aggression and violence.  The rapist is angry, feels the need to dominate and uses sex as the weapon.

What to Do If You Have Been Raped

Get into a Safe Place

Go someplace where you feel safe and can get emotional support.

Contact the Bethany Police Department, a friend, a Resident Life staff member or an SCU faculty, staff or administrator.  They will assist you in getting the appropriate help and support you need. 

Even though you may feel "dirty", Do not bathe or shower or change clothes until the proper authorities have been contacted.

Go to the Hospital.

It is important that you seek medical attention for treatment or injuries and for other tests, which are for your benefit both physically and legally.

REPORT THE RAPE!

The decision to report the rape is yours if you are of legal age.  Reporting a rape is an important part in the fight to end this type of crime.  But you must choose the course of action.

GET COUNSELING!

Counseling is an essential step in the recovery process.  Even if you do not report the rape and pursue legal action against your attacker, you will need the help of a trained counselor.  Counselors who are trained in rape crisis can be found in hospitals, rape crisis centers or mental health centers.  If you need assistance finding counseling, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 789.7661.

No one ever thinks that a dating situation with a friend will ever get out of control, BUT it can.  Your best defense for minimizing your chances for a problem is precaution.  Here are a few suggestions:

Go out on dates with a group of friends or in a well lit public place. Go out with another couple or at least let a friend or your roommate know where you are going, who you are with and what time you expect to return. Avoid getting into places or situations, which may lead to compromise (dark parking spots, your date's apartment). Be aware of non-verbal and verbal cues which may warn you of a potentially dangerous situation. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.  It may not be just your imagination.