College can be a wonderful adventure.
Leaving home for the first time is an exhilarating experience, but every young woman should approach the situation with caution.
On-campus sexual assaults and other personal crimes are at an all time high. For this reason, –and because it’s just a good idea to know how to protect oneself– we offer these savvy self defense tips for female students.
Become familiar with your campus safety office
Almost every college and university has one, and a safety officer can provide plenty of savvy information about how female students can protect themselves. Ask for a map of the campus and become familiar with it. Inquire about on-campus escort services and use them, especially when moving about the campus after dark.
Some schools provide a ride service that can be called for transportation. If you walk, walk with trusted friends and look out for one another. Common sense security tactics such as always locking your dorm room no matter how briefly you will be away and traveling in pairs are good suggestions, as well.
Scan sex offender registries to find out if there are known dangerous people in your area. As an attorney, Jason A. Volet can tell you that many sex offenders are of college age, so be wise about “hanging out” with or accepting a drink from anyone you don’t really know.
Know where you’re going and walk with confidence
Many predators look for an insecure victim who appear to be lost or disoriented. Plan your route and stride with confidence. Doing so may make you less of a target and more of a force to be reckoned with.
Avital Zeisler is a self defense expert who recommends that female students to take responsibility for their own safety. Situational awareness means using one’s peripheral vision to notice all surroundings lessens the odds of a surprise attack. Do it every time you go anywhere. Zeisler also encourages young women to avail themselves of a self defense class. The ability to protect oneself in a scary situation is a real confidence and security booster.
Maintain your privacy on Facebook and other social media
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can be a fun way to let your friends know what you’re up to, but they can also provide too much info to strangers who don’t have your best interests at heart. Go ahead and post pics of your lunch, but stay away from geotags that pinpoint your location. Refrain from announcing when you’ll be away from your dorm room and always lock up when you leave.
Take advantage of the security features that Facebook offers. Disabling GPS location services and adjusting your privacy settings so that only close friends can see your posts can go a long way toward keeping you safe on campus, says SafeWise.
For a young woman attending college, life can be rich as well as educational. Be aware of your surroundings, maintain your social media privacy, call for a ride when you need one and most of all, enjoy your college years.
Dylan Butcher is a self defense instructor. He holds various classes throughout the year, whether aimed at female students or the over 60’s and also shares basic self defense tips online.