College sexual assaults highest in the fall
Students are back on college campuses, classes have started and parties are in full swing. This is a time where many wonderful memories are made and great friendships are formed, but it can also be an incredibly dangerous place for female students.
Fifty-three percent of sexual assault cases reported to the Oklahoma State University Police were during the months of August and September. Campuses all over the nation have seen an uptick of sexual assaults at the start of the school year.
In 2013, 85 percent of sexual assaults at the University of Georgia occurred before Thanksgiving break. The time from the start of school until Thanksgiving break is often known as “The Red Zone”due to the increase in sexual assault reports. Studies have also found first-year students to be especially vulnerable during the first six weeks of school.
To educate women about safety, the National Panhellenic Council, a national organization which includes 26 national sororities, has launched a social media campaign using #TheRedZone. Along with local sorority chapters, the group is sharing statistics on sexual assault, as well as safety tips.
Sarah Katula, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Advocate Good Samarian Hospital in Downers Grove, Ill., offers these tips for college girls to help them stay safe:
- Use the buddy system and have girlfriends keep an eye on your whereabouts
- For girls who choose to drink, do so in moderation and do not go home or back to the dorms without a friend that you can trust
- Keep drinks covered and do not leave them unattended
- Parents should remind their male and female children to take care and be responsible for themselves, but also care for their friends, roommates and classmates
“Many college campuses are including safe campus behaviors in orientation and this not only includes taking care of yourself, but also taking care of each other by using the ‘consent’ rule and also not being a bystander,” says Katula. “Both male and female students need to not only be responsible for themselves, but also for their peers.”
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